Category Archives: Published Short Stories

Susan Sets up Shop in Littsburgh!


West of Mars logoWhat’s this Littsburgh stuff? You all thought I was West of Mars!

Well, I am BOTH. Littsburgh is the literary hub for us publishing folk in the city of Pittsburgh and maybe you missed it, but West of Mars definitely refers to the only city or town of Mars in the United States. The question I usually won’t answer is how far west of Mars I am, but that’s because I hate it when people show up on my doorstep. Of course, showing up on my back deck is even worse, so don’t do that, either. And before you go, “A-ha! I’ll use the garage,” know that’s where the boy’s bows are stored. Just sayin’.

So because I’m both West of Mars and a proud part of the Littsburgh community, Nick and Rachel and Katie were more than glad to feature me with a quick four-question interview about my story, “Undaunted,” in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories.

I know I’ve done other interviews and stuff about it already, but somehow, seeing myself up on Littsburgh, being an active part of the writerly community… it’s darn cool.

Check it out. If you haven’t picked up a copy for yourself, what are you waiting for?


Today’s the Day! #NewBookRelease


How can you not love this cover for the Running Wild Anthology of Stories?

Today’s the day!

The Running Wild Anthology of Stories (Volume 2) releases to the world today, and of course I think you ought to pick up a copy. I mean, we all know I like to release new fiction on my birthday and so what if we’re a month early? Your reading my creation is the best gift you can give me.

Here are the buy links:

And remember: leaving reviews is the best way to show appreciation for an author’s work. And yes, negative reviews, when thoughtful and considered, are beneficial.

I do have digital copies if you PROMISE to leave a review anywhere online, including GoodReads.


Featured New Short Story: Undaunted by Susan Helene Gottfried


Featured New Book Spotlight

It’s my turn to step into the spotlight! Do you know stoked I am to do this?

Here’s the story, if you missed it a few weeks ago: One of my son’s friends told me about a prompt on their English final. One word: Puddles.

And after years of not writing a heck of a lot, just like that, I started writing again.

I still don’t know what motivated me, but something did. Maybe I was possessed, maybe I just loved this story and had that much faith in it.

But… I submitted it, it was accepted, and now, today, I’m here to tell you about the song that makes me think of my story, Undaunted.

This is embarrassing as hell, because I’ve come to realize this is actually a horrible song, but here it is anyway: It Can’t Rain All the Time, from the Crow Soundtrack, performed by Jane Siberry. The link will take you to a fan-made tribute video, and I think it does the song and movie justice. But… yeah. It’s not the sort of thing I listen to… ever. But there’s a longing in it, a sense of what true love must be like, and even a promise — and those elements are what I tried to key into when creating Carrie and this story of her loss of her husband, Dante. And, of course, the rain is a theme in both song and story — in Undaunted, though, it’s more an element of the safe harbor of love, and in the end, it’s all about redemption and freedom.

The description isn’t much, as it shouldn’t be in an anthology such as this, but here it is:

Over twenty stories that will make your heart race, make you joyful, fearful, thrilled, inspired, and horrified.
These are stories that will make your imagination run wild featuring Gemma L. Brook, Lorna Walsh, Jasmine Wade,
Laura Nelson Selinsky, Carol Dowd-Forte, Tone Milazzo, Julie Doherty, Tori Eldridge, Ken MacGregor, Nick Mazzuca, Andrew Adams, Susan Helene Gottfried, Amelia Kibbie, Lexis Parker, Rebecca House, Elan Barnehama, Gary Zenker, Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni, Joe Nasta, Cindy Cavett

Need some buy links? It’s still a pre-order for three more days. But go and pre-order. Don’t wait, to make sure you don’t forget!

And… you don’t really need my connect links… they’re all over this here site.

Just remember that if you pick up a copy (and you should!), my fellow authors and I would LOVE a review.


Cover Reveal and Anthology Announcement: Running Wild Anthology Volume 2


I am beyond proud to introduce you to the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2!

Know why?

I have a short story in it.

But not just any short story. Undaunted, it’s called, and it’s one of those pieces of writing that just pours out of you from places unknown, almost entirely whole and coherent, and requires very little revision and a light touch by an editor to tighten up a few phrases.

It’s not just any short story. It’s the first new fiction I’ve been willing to show the world. It’s the first short story I have submitted for publication in years.

So, yeah. I’m batting 1000% on submissions over the past year or five. Time will tell if I can keep it up, but for now, I’m grateful to the team behind the Running Wild Anthology — yes, you guessed it: it’s the cool people at Running Wild Press. This is an emerging publisher worth keeping an eye on, folks!

It’s up for preorder, so get yours now!


Author Susan Speaks: Unpublished



I don’t fully understand it, but here it is.

After thousands of downloads, after Amazon’s continued refusal over a span of many years to price-match, I’ve had to unpublish one of the short stories of my heart, Mannequin.


Because four years ago, Smashwords changed the requirements for the size of their covers. And the cover for Mannequin was no longer compliant.

Faced with the choice of spending money on a perma-free story that wasn’t leading to increased sales (and, despite the downloads, I don’t remember the last time I saw a review of it! See, folks? Reviews MATTER) or… doing something else, I chose the latter. I suppose I could have left it at Amazon, gone exclusive with it over there (although I don’t believe in exclusives) or taken it out of Smashwords’ premium catalog and left it at Smashwords itself, since so many of those downloads came from there. But… nope. That felt like doing something halfway, and I don’t like to do things halfway. Not when I can help it.

So I was conflicted. What to do with this little story I love so much?

Credit my teenaged daughter with a creative solution: she created an account for me over at Wattpad — yes, the domain of the young and the unpublished and the hopeful and the experimental and the fan-based — and slapped Mannequin up over there.

You can go read it.

If you have a blog, you can talk about it. Reviews matter. Reviews help drive sales. And the benefit to you? If someone reads a review you wrote and agrees, you’ve just become a tastemaker. Go, you.

I’m sad about this. Like I said: story of my heart.

But on the other hand, the girl is going to fill my shelf with stuff. She’s going to talk to cover artists she knows. She has plans for her mom, with the promise that if there’s any revenue to be made, she’ll get some. I’ll get that kid through college with only large, instead of insurmountable, debt yet!

So stay tuned. You just may see some fiction up there that you’ve never seen from me before. Like I said, the girl has plans. And I have a hard drive that’s full of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day.

Why do I have a feeling there’s a lot of revision in my near future?


Lines of Distinction: Broken by Susan Helene Gottfried



Peace… now that’s a better shiny than actual shiny things. At least from where I stand. But then, I’m standing in a place that’s all my own.

I love this short story of mine. It’s rough. It’s edgy. It’s not for the faint of heart or family friendly.

But it is rock and roll and it is gritty and it is something I’m proud of and stand behind.

Pick up your copy today:

Also available on:
Page Foundry


Featured New Book: Broken by Susan Helene Gottfried


Yeah, so it’s tacky to feature myself. But it’s been quiet around here again; what’s with these spurts?


So… what song makes me think of my short story? Like many before me, it’s a hard choice. Ozzy’s Crazy Train is an option ’cause if there’s anything going on with Ice Cubes in Hell, it’s a crazy train. This band is dysfunction city — and sadly familiar to many of us inside the biz.

Maybe I’d settle on Nothing More’s breakout song, This is the Time (Ballast) — as a warning to my fictional friends that what gets revealed this night needs to be moved past.

Or there’s my son’s favorite song (Not): Katy Perry’s Roar, since Broken describes the events that happen when T finds her voice — although she’s never been the sort to bury it in the first place. T’s a pretty in-your-face sort of woman. I like her for what it’s worth.

The Amity Affliction’s Pittsburgh? A definite contender, as this band, these people are lost and drowning.

Funnily enough — or not — I have three of these songs in my Spotify playlist that keeps me company at work. I bet you can’t figure out which is the one not on the list…  And yes, I’m sticking to these four. It’s MY site, MY interview question. I get to break the rules.

Here’s the long description for Broken:

For T and the rest of Ice Cubes in Hell, it’s a routine night backstage after their set, opening for the notorious Vanessa Kontempt. The party’s in full swing when T walks in, but she’s not in the mood. Not tonight. Things spiral downward when she finds some groupies raiding her stage clothes. One breaks the heel off her favorite boot, and as T confronts the band’s tour manager about the destruction, secrets are revealed. Secrets which might tear the band apart … or bring them closer.

The story won’t be released until the 15th — that’s just next week! — but you can preorder it now.

Smashwords  (Uhh, no affiliate link this time. Go figure.)




#Rocktober Cover Reveal: Broken by Susan Helene Gottfried


The good news is that the editing is keeping me busy. The bad news is that means my writing is taking a hit. And given that a lot of my clients come to me because I am an author and I have my fingers in publishing, I suppose I gotta put up.

This one, I’m glad to put up. It’s my new short story, called Broken. Broken_One


My very longtime (I started to say old, but I don’t want either of us to be old) Metallica friend, Carol, did the cover. Go visit her. Tell her I sent you.  You deserve a cover by someone like Carol.

It’s a short story, as the cover makes pretty darn clear, and it’ll be for sale for 99c once it’s up and able to be preordered or out-and-out for sale. (Yes, I’m writing this in advance.)

Ready for the description? Too bad. Here it is.

For T and the rest of Ice Cubes in Hell, it’s a routine night backstage after their set, opening for the notorious Vanessa Kontempt. The party’s in full swing when T walks in, but she’s not in the mood. Not tonight. When she finds groupies raiding her stage clothes and one breaks the heel off one of her favorite boots, things spiral downward. As T confronts the band’s tour manager about the destruction, secrets are revealed. Secrets that might tear the band apart … or bring them closer.

I’m crazy proud of this story. Took me a long time to get right, and I had to run it past my editor, too, for help pulling it all together.

Buy links will be arriving as soon as I’ve got ’em. Pick up your copy and help me keep my fingers in the publishing pie.



Merry Christmas!


I’ll share the saga of a week mostly without Internet (and the 150 mail messages that got nuked. Not good. Very very not good) later, but for now,

to celebrate the holiday season and to entice all you e-reader users, new and old, I’ve dropped some prices around town.

The Demo Tapes triplets are now 99c each.

Mannequin is now FREE (at Smashwords only for the time being).

If they sell well, I’ll leave ’em low, especially if they stimulate sales of Trevor’s Song. This is a good time for you already familiar with the Trevolution to gift some e-books to your friends, as well. King Trevor is still slated to be released on April 12, 2012.

Because Smashwords is my favorite retailer, here’s the link to my page there.

You Kindle users can use this link. Or the Smashwords one; you CAN get Kindle format from Smashwords, you know.

Here’s hoping you all had a great day today, regardless of what or how you celebrate.


Rocktober! Go!


So WHAT if today’s the last day of September. Rocktober begins in less than 24 hours, and I am EXCITED. I’ve got posts scheduled to go here and over at Rocks ‘n Reads.

Come join the fun, will ya? Celebrate the collision of music and books however you see fit. Come on back here or over to the West of Mars Fans page over at Facebook and share what you’re up to. If you’ve got a link, leave it and I’ll add it to this post. No link? Who cares, so long as you’re rockin’ with me!

Oh, and since I’m nice and kind and stuff, check out the price discounts on my books, at Smashwords and Amazon. All month long — just to make sure YOUR Rocktober rocks along with mine.

Friends Rocking with me:
Misty at The Top Shelf hosts Jeremy Wagner for a guest blog post.
Jill Elizabeth at All Things Jill Elizabeth is giving away a copy of Voice.
Mary at BookHounds found a book called Metal Rules the Globe. I think these authors are smart.
Not out yet, this is one to covet. A graphic novel about the Sex Pistols. Mary at Bookhounds brings us this goodness, too.
My friend Maria Savva is joining the fun.
Necromancy Never Pays reviewed Trevor’s Song. And what a review it is!
More from Mary at Bookhounds — a mystery box giveaway!
Misty at The Top Shelf has decided to interview musicians about their favorite books. Check out the first in this new series, featuring Derek Martinez.
Julia Smith at A Piece of My Mind does a Five for Friday with a shoutout to me and Wylie Kinson.


They’re Pink. They love snow. And they’re Bunnies.


Yes, boys and girls. It’s true.

The long-awaited (by me, anyway. The heck with the rest of you) short story anthology, Pink Snowbunnies in Hell, has been published.

Yep. Pink Snowbunnies.

The story of how this anthology came about is every bit as delightful. There was a conversation raging on the Kindle Boards, and Debora Geary, the eventual editor, made some comment, something along the lines of, “Pink snowbunnies will ski in Hell before that happens.”

And… we were off and running.

I wasn’t going to submit. Seriously. Talk about low self-esteem, boys and girls. Not to mention a total lack of ideas. My kids helped out with the latter problem, and I figured what the heck. I had nothing to lose; I’ve faced rejection over my writing before.

I didn’t face rejection this time. Of course, it turned out there was a 50/50 chance of making it in, but … I didn’t know that. Didn’t really care. I figured at the least, it was a good experience.

And yes, The Taste of Pink Snow is my contribution. I will have to look it over, but I have a feeling it’s one of the first pieces I’ve written in a long time that doesn’t contain some sort of reference to something involving the Trevolution.

I’ll let you go pick it up. It’s 99c at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. And best of all? Proceeds will benefit animal shelters and rescue and all sorts of other animal-related places. Maybe including the shelter I volunteer with. That’s not my call; all I could do was suggest it to the Powers that Be. So… I did.

Pink Snowbunnies in Hell, gang. Pick it up — and like everything else, please remember to jot a few words as a review somewhere.

(Oh, and before you ask why I’m not listed as one of the contributing authors, it’s because Amazon only lets you list ten, and we chose the ten authors with the highest sales. Yet another reason why we need to get more people involved with the Trevolution!)


The Smashwords Summer Sale Wrap-Up


On the one hand, I want to say the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale was a huge success. I sold WAY more books than I had dared to dream of. New sales record? Dude. And then some.

I don’t think many of those books went to you guys, either, but to people who were encountering me via the site. As I am typing — although it’ll probably have changed by the time you read this — I am the #11 Most Viewed author on Smashwords. That’s pretty incredible, especially when you consider how many authors are using Smashwords. That means people are looking. They were buying during the sale. I hope it’ll continue.

I doubt it will, though. Know why? Because the two books — Trevor’s Song and The Demo Tapes: Year 3 — that weren’t free sold a whopping three copies each. At $1.50 per book.

I won’t try to figure out the percentage. It’s single-digit. It’s sad.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t mind that it was the free books that moved. I like that people find themselves drawn to my fictional worlds and like most authors, I am pleased to see the books moving.

The problem is that people are picking up the free stuff. I hope they’re reading it, but that’s the one thing we authors rarely know, unless you readers post reviews or drop us authors a note. Let’s assume they’re reading it.

I doubt they don’t like it enough to spend money on the rest of my books. I don’t think it’s that at all. Rather, I think what’s going on is that there’s so much out there that’s free, people are snapping up the free stuff first, and waiting for the paid stuff to get to the point where the authors are willing to make them free. Then readers can repeat the cycle: picking up only the free stuff.

That’s still fine, especially because the pattern has been that when people pick up one of Trevor’s books, they tend to love the guy. How can you not? He’s a wounded soul, a bad boy whose persona has more holes than Swiss cheese, but of course, Trevor can’t see those holes in his armor. And he’s a rock star. Baby, we all love our rock stars.

So why does it sound like I’m about to whine? Well, because I am, of course.

I get the free thing. I do. I am all about free books, myself. That’s because money’s tight. Know why money’s tight?

Yep. Because I’m not earning any. Smashwords doesn’t pay royalties on free books, folks. There’s no portion of sales to hand back to us authors. Which means it doesn’t matter how many books I do sell during these promotions — and don’t get me wrong. They are awesome promotions — because unless that royalty rate ticks upward, I’m still a broke, struggling writer.

That part sucks. I hate it. Even more, I worry that one day, I’ll wake up and the only option will be to hang up my purple pen that writes in red ink, and get a job. Even minimum wage will pay me more than I’m earning right now.

There are a lot of ways to support your favorite authors. One is to write reviews of their books. Another is to buy copies to share with your friends and family. (Books make great gifts, especially when they come with a personal recommendation!)

But the best way is to spend your money and BUY those books.

So… to those couple hundred people who picked up my books during July, thank you. I hope you’ll love Trevor and the rest of the band as much as those of us who hang out here regularly do. Heck, I hope you’ll come join us here. And then, I hope you’ll go back to Smashwords, or over to Amazon, or B&N, or Powells, or wherever you buy your books and spend some green stuff.

Your new favorite author will thank you. I promise.


Susan’s Promo Tales! Read an E-book Week


Read an e-book Week 2011

Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Last year, I did pretty well. The end of the week was pre-empted by my leaving for the famed Writer’s Retreat at Confluence, PA. You guys may remember… we were flooded INTO a very lovely bed and breakfast, from which we watched the water rise. And then retreat again. What a way to watch a flood… it was phenomenal.

Last year, also, I only had two books out. I made both the Demo Tapes books free last year; I’m sure that made a difference in sales.

This year, they will be free again, if you’re looking to pick them up and add them to your e-book library.

However, Trevor’s Song, that novel of mine… I’m only discounting it 50%, to $1.50. I’ve got bills to pay, folks, and a website to support. I think spending $1.50 for up to three books is MORE than fair…

The only potential downer is that you’ll have to buy through Smashwords. If you don’t have an account there, what are you waiting for? There’s a TON of free stuff (most of which I can’t vouch for). I’ll be adding links to my friends as they report in with their links… be sure to check them out first. They are, after all, my friends. Which means that, due to the Commutative Property of Friends, any friend of mine is a friend of yours, too.

Susan’s Friends you should check out:
Thea Atkinson
KM Humphreys
Bitsy Bling Books
Sharon Cathcart
Darcia Helle
Libby Fischer Hillmann

Tania Tirraoro — Sweet Seduction
Allen Schatz — Game 7: Dead Ball

Al Boudreau decided to lower his price at Amazon, for you Kindle folk.

Stacy Juba decided to do it on her own terms:

Stacy Juba is offering a 99 cent special for her mystery/romantic suspense novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today on Smashwords, where you can download the book into the format of your choice.Visit the book’s Smashwords page at and then type in this coupon code at checkout: BU97L.

Jason McIntyre is following my lead. Shed is free. On the Gathering Storm is half off. Two books for a buck fifty. NEW books, not used. Can’t beat that!

**You’ll notice that links to profile pages, not to the books themselves do not have the super-special affiliate code attached. The links to individual books, however, do. This means I may or may not make any money if you guys buy. Of course, I’d prefer to make a few cents…