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Introducing Lines of Distinction


Welcome 2015!

I gotta say, 2014 wasn’t so bad. It was tough and the start was definitely rough, but overall, my mantra of Only the Good continues to be realized. I’ll take it.

So to give back, I decided to introduce a new promotional feature here at West of Mars, for authors of all ilk. It’s called Lines of Distinction, and you can read about it to your heart’s content, if you are so moved. Which, of course, you should be, since it’s all about benefitting you, your friends, and even random strangers, if you’re so moved.

Promo should be easy and fun for authors — and inspiring for readers. So join me and submit your own Lines of Distinction.

Let’s make 2015 a great year, full of fantastic fiction.


#RockFiction Reviewers Wanted


Rocktober is approaching, just on the far side of the summer that’s sprung on us when we were still recovering from that awful, brutal, horrible winter. (Gee, Sooz, tell us what you really thought of it!)

Actually, Rocktober is just an excuse. I’ve been contacted by a number of Rock Fiction authors who’d like to get extra reviews for their books, so I figured that since this is the home of Rock Fiction, what better place to put out a call for reviewers?

If you’re a Rock Fiction lover — and I mean lover, not necessarily expert — drop us a line and let’s see if we can hook you up with some of the best Rock Fiction out there. Can’t promise there won’t be clunkers, but you ARE free to leave a review saying why a book is a clunker.

If you’ve never reviewed or need help, holler, and Susan and the West of Mars Editorial staff would be glad to help you craft some well-written reviews. The thought-provoking part? That’s all on you.


Where There’s One, There’s Two



New cover for Demo Tapes — Year 2!shapeshiftercover_DEMOtape2


Go on. I dare you to tell me Lakota Phillips doesn’t know my band and my books. I DARE you.


Featured New Book: Finding You by Giselle Green


Giselle Green found me earlier in the year, and it’s a good thing for all of us — me, Giselle, and you — that she did. Her new book, Finding You, just went live today. It’s the sequel to Little Miracles, which is a great women’s fiction read or a book club book. So is Finding You.

Mum Cover Dark Full

Which brings us to the reason we’re all here: Giselle, what song makes you think of your book?

The first time I heard the song Burning by Einaudi (from: In a Time Lapse) – I \\\’aw’ the most important and emotional scene in my book unfurling in my mind’s eye. I’d been wrestling with where the main focus of my book would lie, but on hearing this I knew in a heartbeat where it would be.

Finding you is a sequel story to the aftermath of a child abduction. The toddler is back with his rightful parents, and yet he is desperately unhappy. Things are not right. The music expresses perfectly the anguish of his mother Julia who in the previous book has risked everything to recover her stolen son. She faces the unthinkable scenario: could it be that her little boy may now love his ‘other mama,’ Illusion, better than her? In Julia’s mind, nothing could be worse.

And yet, increasingly, she is coming to believe that she must take him back to Illusion, because her son is so unhappy and she believes nothing else will console him. She loves him and she is desperate. This is where my crucial scene – and this song – come in. The music is so sad and at the same time so hopeful and uplifting.

Every time I hear it, I see them: they’re on a beach in Spain and it’s early morning, sun just coming up: Julia has brought her child to the place where she knows Illusion will be. She both longs to discover the solution to his unhappiness and dreads it. Then they spy Illusion. Breaking free, the child runs straight towards her. For one moment, Julia, empathic, is as one with her little boy: he’s running towards the one he loves, she believes. He’s free, arms outstretched, he looks joyous. To me, the song is resonant of the mother’s grief, her sacrifice and the simultaneous expression of her love – Julia is prepared to forgo her own happiness for his. She already knows that her son’s father will never forgive her for taking their child back.

What happens next, is not something Julia could have predicted. But all that belongs to other scenes and other songs. Listen to this one – and see if you agree with me about how incredibly moving and powerful it is.

Here’s the book description:

Julia and Charlie are ecstatic to be reunited with their stolen child, Hadyn. A year after he was snatched from a beach in Spain during a family holiday, they had feared that he would never be found alive.

Now the couple are eager for their lives to return to normal – but something is very wrong. Hadyn is still in many ways a ‘lost’ child. He seems to have been badly affected by the abduction, making it impossible for the family to simply pick up the pieces and move on.

In their efforts to unravel exactly what happened to their son and to find a cure, Julia and Charlie clash as to the best way forward. As their own insecurities surface, their relationship comes under threat – a situation not helped by the appearance of a former lover who is only too happy to rock the boat.

As dark secrets are uncovered, the couple’s love for each other is tested to its very limits, and they begin to doubt that they will ever be able to help their troubled little boy…
Until, at last, they stumble across an unexpected truth. A truth that might be the only thing left that could save their family.

Emotionally intense and deeply moving, Finding You will grip you from the very first page.

Having already read this, I can say yes, it will grip you. It’ll haunt you, too; this is one of those books I keep having flashbacks to. Read it and you’ll see why (and no, you don’t have to have read Little Miracles first).

Buy a copy:

Connect with Giselle:


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Teen Girl Rocking Reads: the Song of the Lioness book 1: Alanna; The First Adventure


Alanna of Trebond isn’t happy. Her father is sending her off to learn how to train her Gift, while her twin, Thom, gets to go be a knight at the castle of Tortallen. When Alanna and Thom switch places, Alanna is thrilled at the thought of being a knight. What isn’t so thrilling is all the work of 7-8 years of training. And the part of hiding the fact that she’s a girl. Join Alanna in her training to be a true knight in Tamora Pierce’s new quartet, The Song of the Lioness: Alanna; The First Adventure.

I think that this book, like all of Pierce’s books, is just amazing. It’s the perfect mix of adventure and life at court. All the scenes flow seamlessly, and the storyline is fascinating.

If you like my review, read Alanna; The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce!!!

Song of the Lioness 1


Rocktober Prep


Mary and I have been plotting.

After all, Rocktober is drawing nearer — can’t you feel the weather turning? See the NFL players out on the training fields? — and I’ve been asked by many clients and friends to develop a really cool promotions department at West of Mars.

Really cool may mean falling on my face before I get it right, but one easy way to start is with Rocktober, the month-long celebration of all things Rock Fiction.

I know you want to join in. I need bloggers and authors, but if you’re a reader who wants to get a review of that Rock Fiction novel you’ve been dying to read, I’ve got room here for you.

Drop me an e-mail and we’ll talk. I’d like less of a free-for-all this year. Pick a date and commit to it, please!

And wait until you see the cool touches we’re going to give you for rockin’ out with us this Rocktober. Fifty-three days left. Can you stand it?

(Need some ideas for Rock Fiction titles? Check the Rock Fiction page here at West of Mars! I’m updating it as soon as I come across new titles, so if you have any suggestions that aren’t on the page, leave them in the comments here or on the West of Mars Fans page at Facebook.)


Teen Girl Rocking Reads: Goddess Girls: Aphrodite the Beauty by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams


Aphrodite is the goddess of love and beauty, and loves helping mortals find their match. So, she decides to give her friend Athena a makeover. Hair, clothes, makeup, the works. When the 4 goddesses go to a party on the godboys’ floor, Aphrodite starts to get a little jealous when her crush, Ares, takes an interest in Athena. On top of that, she has to deal with one of her dozens of admirers, Hephaestus, and a strange request for help from a mortal named Hippomenes.

I think that this book represents many teen girl problems: BOYS!!!!!!!! The authors make the characters seem like real teens; dealing with difficult crushes, and jealousy when your friend attracts the boy you like.
If you like my review, read Goddess Girls: Aphrodite the Beauty!!!

aphrodite the beauty cover


Teen Boy Reads: Behemoth


Hello everyone!

Last week I was out of town, away from all technology, thus being unable to post. But here is Behemoth, the second in the Scott Westerfeld series. Jump in!

Behemoth: Scott Westerfeld
🙂 out of 😀

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan’s peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what’s ahead.

Immediately after Leviathan, our story picks up. The Clankers have revealed a new Shocking weapon, one that will bring the Darwinists to their knees. However, the Darwinists have the Behemoth, their fierce new weapon. But the Ottoman Empire is one who remains neutral, and they WILL be a turning point in the war, if the Darwinists can gain their trust.

I have read a lot of series where the books run right into each other, and most of them have been either bad, or awful. This book, by those standards was amazing, not only in the fact that the two books ran right into each other, but the book itself was amazing. Next week, we have the series finale, Goliath, and then we move on to a new series. Most likely the Bartimaeus series, but if I get any other ideas, we will delve into that.

See you next week,
Your Friend at TBR


Teen Boy Reads: Department 19: The Rising


Ok, everyone. Sorry it has been so long, but I have just forgot to post, but will have posts more regularly as summer rolls in. Again, sorry. I wrote this post a while ago, but never posted it. So, I bid you best reads.

Well, It’s here.

Department 19, book TWO! The Rising. Amazing. excited. Lets get it before I can’t type.

Department 19: The Rising
😀 out of 😀 (5/5)





After the terrifying attack on Lindisfarne at the end of the first book, Jamie, Larissa and Kate are recovering at Department 19 headquarters, waiting for news of Dracula’s stolen ashes.

They won’t be waiting for long.

Vampire forces are gathering. Old enemies are getting too close. And Dracula… is rising.

12 weeks after Lindisfarne, The department has picked itself up and most who went survived. But all who went changed. And Valeri Rusmanov has been working Dracula back to life, and the vampires and becoming bolder, and they are leaving graffiti on all the walls. He Rises 91 days to slay Dracula, because after then, Dracula becomes the world’s dictator and all the humans will be non-existent. Unlikely alliances will form, all to bring down these monsters.

Holy Heck in a handbasket. To make this simple, Department 19 blew almost every other book I have read out of the water. The Rising blew the first one out of the water. Yeah. So, next week, I am trying something new. I am going to give a “Reccommended Reads/Recently Read,” and we’ll see how that goes. After that, I will do the Leviathan Trilogy BY Scott Westerfield, and Then Mortal By Phillip Reeves.

See Ya next time,

Your Friend at TBR


Teen Boy Reads: Recommended Reads


Hey everyone,

Today is my recommended reads post. All of these books are really good, so read some!

Artemis Fowl Series- Eoin Colfer
All Books I have reviewed, for the most part
Holes- Louis Sachar
Rick Riordan- I will not read him, but I know he is really good
Margaret Peterson Haddix, Amazing author
I, Q- Roland Smith
Jerry Spinelli
Evil Genius- Catherine Jinks
Alex Rider- Anthony Horowitz
Maximum Ride- James Patterson WARNING!! When Reading a James Patterson Book, look under his name. Patterson Has many people writing under his name!
Eoin Colfer in general
Dan Gutman, Sports
Jack Gantos
HIVE- Mark Walden- LOVE IT!
Rangers Apprentice- Never read it, but have heard nice things about it.
Warriors- Erin Hunter
The Mostly True Story of Jack

Thanks for reading,
Your friend at TBR


Rock Fiction Readalong Wrapup: Heavy Metal and You


Heavy Metal and YouI did this last time I had a readalong — I absolutely devoured the book.

On the one hand, this is good. I’m picking good stuff right now (although the streak’s got to end at some point. Hopefully not soon, though).

On the other, are you guys able to get the book? Are you really reading along? Or am I totally outpacing you?

Go here for my review.


Featured New Book: Secret Desire by Susan Taylor


Susan Taylor came to me for editing help. Before we could blink, she had the book under contract!

The only sad part about this story is that I didn’t get to work with her more.

Read on, MacDuff!


Song: Snow Patrol, Lifeboats – A Hundred Million Suns

I actually found this song after Secret Desire was contracted but it couldn’t be more perfect. From the super lyrical quality of writing and sensual feel of the melody, it’s almost like having warm caramel poured over…well you pick a body part.

Lifeboats speaks about dreams and waking to take action, between singer and lover. “Flashed up in my wildest dreams, like red blood streams, stretch out like vast cracked ice.” Claire’s imagination, thoughts, and dreams are bombarded by images of her lost love, Dustin Murray. Images she can’t control. She and Dustin were in love since childhood. Their veins are like great forest trees. Those types of roots forge personalities and life choices.

Secret Desire opens with Claire writing an erotic story alone inside her apartment in Seattle. The kitchen setting is cold, damp, angular. The line from Lifeboats: “Silence eats us from the inside” is pinnacle to the Claire’s Elizabeth Kubler Ross avoidance to conflict. She ran away from love that keeps her pinned, spinning, and fantasizing, and she can’t move forward or back. Her parents are killed, forcing her to deal with her life.

“Wake up wake up dreaming only leads to more and more nightmares” is a great line that frames Claire’s life. It’s exactly what she does as a writer and lover. She succumbs to a man who is the exact opposite of the hero in her stories only making her feel more lost and alone. The proverbial nail in the coffin scene.

“I meant no harm but I only get to say these words too late” speaks the lie existing between Claire and her lost love, Dustin. Backstory or the past inciting incident, occurs when Dustin was tricked by Fran, Claire’s identical twin sister. Fran is competitive to the ninth degree. Dustin tried to enlist her help in gaining Claire’s affection in high school. Unwittingly he threw down a gauntlet, provoking Fran into proving her twin sister was nothing special. This wedge became the reason why Claire left for California to get away from life back home in Mill Spring, NC. But as we know, fleeing trouble never works. Our luggage just becomes heavier as we travel.

“Snap out of it you said it in a way that showed you really cared.” This line speaks to the point when Dustin decides since Fran is coming back to assist Claire with the estate of their parents, he’d better tell Claire the truth of what happened. And he does without sugar coating what type of sister Fran actually is to Claire. This becomes the moment when Claire and Dustin reconnect emotionally and physically.

“Send your lifeboats out for me” is the action required to rescue Claire. Dustin reaches out to her, finally divulging the truth about what happened before she left home. With the truth, Claire is freed from feeling lost in love and in life. She gains the strength to take hold of her life, letting go false expectations, and is ready to say, in essence, “I write erotica…” Her moment of reckoning on her character arc: this is who I am…take me or not.

Be sure you give this a listen, if you haven’t yet. It’s melodic and haunting, all at once.

And look! Susan made a playlist and video, just for the book. She loves music as much as I do, it seems.

Ready for the blurb? I am!

Claire Robertson is a journalist living a vanilla life. Except when she’s alone at night where she wields her writer whip and stilettos within her erotic writing and fantasies. Tragedy blindly strikes when her parents are killed, forcing Claire to return to her hometown, and confront her past. And that past includes Dustin Murray, an old flame she ran away from when things became complicated.

Her life comes apart and she sends her editor the “wrong” story by mistake. One of her hot novels.

Amidst chaos, Claire must decide between returning to her safe life back in Seattle or risk an adventure, ensuring her smoxy fantasies come to life. Dustin has his own plans and isn’t about to let Claire go. Not when he proves he can handle her life and ALL her bedroom fantasies.

Love sparks, igniting the flame within Claire’s heart
forcing her to choose a life stuck on slow-bake or one that SIZZLES

WOW! Having been on the receiving end of the wrong manuscript, I can say it does happen, folks. This isn’t as far-fetched as you’d think.

Buy a copy!


Featured New Book: The Rock Star in the Mirror by Sharon E Cathcart


Whenever I edit a book, I make a point of telling my client they are welcome to stop in and do a Featured New Book spotlight. It’s the least I can do to support my authors, since they are, without exception, the greatest group of authors on the planet.

Today’s author isn’t merely a client. She’s also an online bud, one I’ve known for a couple of years now, and one who has so many similar interests to my own that it’s scary. We could be soul sisters. And when you read The Rock Star in the Mirror (and you should!), you’ll see what I mean.

So… Sharon, what song makes you think of your book?

Answer this question: What song makes you think of your book? Wow. Just one? I’d have to go with “Station to Station,” which is part of what inspired me to write the story. It’s this wild allegory, based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” that kind of implies a psychotic break on the part of the singer.

(For the record, Sharon herself picked that version of the video, as there doesn’t seem to be an official one. She says she loves this one. It’s from a German film called “Christiane F.” Let me know what you think!)

Ready for the blurb? Sure, you are!

Joe is a small-town Oregon guy. He’s madly in love with Lynnie … who has a huge crush on David Bowie. Joe will do almost anything to get Lynnie’s attention, but there are always consequences.

Buy your copy today! Smashwords is the preferred retailer of the day. That works for me; this link is an affiliate link, which means I’ll make a few pennies from your purchase.

Sharon’s website
Sharon’s Facebook


Foster kitty tales continue


I’m blogging over at Animal Friends again, this time telling a tale of one mischevious little boy.

There was no way I ever would have guessed this guy is the scamp he is. It took him a good three or four weeks of living with me before he started to show this side of himself.

I hope his forever family loves it as much as I do!


King Trevor has Arrived!


Well, sure. You guys knew King Trevor arrived back in April.

That’s because you’re the cool kids.

My good friend, Darcia Helle, is helping spread the word. She’s interviewed both me AND Trevor over at her blog.

Stop in and see what’s up.


Late to my Own Party!


Many of us hate the holidays for a variety of reasons. Family. Travel. Football. Too much food. Food you don’t like. Weather. Not enough Rock Fiction to drown out the drunken ramblings of Crazy Uncle Sal, who’s up in arms this year over the whole Penn State Scandal, and who’s not sick of hearing about THAT already?

Whatever the reason, it’s most likely not MY reason.

My reason is that I’m not online. Not working. Probably not reading and most definitely not writing. This year, it was partly due to a migraine that hit the day before Thanksgiving and lasted until… this morning. Yeah. Almost eight days. Whee. Fun.

That’s why I’m late letting you guys know of a fun interview I did with author Jess C. Scott.

It’s short, too, which is always the best kind (given that I do one-question interviews, don’t you think I agree?). Stop in, check it out, and be sure to say hi to Jess, will ya?

After all, this isn’t just networking for me. It’s for you guys, too. Meet another cool author. Maybe you’ll host her at your site. Maybe she’ll host you. You get how these things work.

It all begins with hello.


From the Musical Ampitheater known as my Kitchen…


I was washing dishes Saturday night and had the toonz on. Not an atypical event around these parts, but that doesn’t surprise you. Your favorite Rock Fiction Writer usually has the toonz blaring. And yes, I do like to do dishes. It’s a great time to let your mind wander through your characters’ lives. (WAIT until you meet the new gang!)

I knew the song currently playing was some old Stone Temple Pilots. I knew that. I did. I was even humming along, a little bit, in my own tone-deaf way.

And suddenly, I paused. The warm water kept flowing over my hands, the scrubby side of the sponge froze, poised over the roasting pan’s rack, and I told myself to breathe.

All of a sudden, the song (and don’t ask which it was. I couldn’t tell you) sounded like 1980s Whitesnake. Still of the Night, in fact. (Holy smoke, I’d forgotten Adrian Vandenberg was in the band back then)

For a second there, I wasn’t sure who had hacked my iPod.

And then the second passed, and Stone Temple Pilots sounded like Stone Temple Pilots again.

But I feel an odd desire to put on a push-up bra and go dance in front of my car. After I turn the headlights on. I’m not sure why.


Monday Morning Meanderings


I’m over at the Indie Writers Association today, giving you a sneak peak of what comes after Trevor Wolff. Can anything come after him?

Time will tell…

Come on by and join me, won’t you?


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.

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