Tag Archives: Metallica

Revising Me #atozchallenge


I have an editor friend (well, I have a BUNCH of editor friends, actually, but we’re talking about one editor friend in particular right here and now) who says there’s a difference between editing and revising.

Editing is what you pay for.

Revising is what you do yourself.

Either way, let’s face it: even my clients who send me their first draft have engaged in some form of revision. They have worked their prose as they’ve created that first draft, shaping and honing their past words as the present unfolds on the screen in front of them.

I say it fairly often: in the quest to make the best book possible, you have to recognize that writing is a craft. You have to hone your tools, push and pull and mold your clay, your canvas — your manuscript — into its final form. It doesn’t just happen by itself. You have to work it. And work it. And work some more.

So, yeah. Revising your work, whether you do it as you go or you go through multiple drafts, is essential. There’s no rule about how much revision work you’ll have to do, and not only does it vary from author to author, but it varies from manuscript to manuscript and project to project, too. Sometimes, even chapter to chapter, scene to scene, and yes, paragraph to paragraph.

But you have to do the work. Bring that baby up to its best possible form. And then, because revising is what you do and editing is what you pay for, you send your masterpiece to your editor, who sends you comments and sets you up for another round of revisions.

Whoever said writing wasn’t a lot of work was either amazingly blessed or lying.

Or they don’t care about quality.

Trust me. I’m a voracious reader. Quality matters.

And how.

*And hey, do you like my post title? It’s a play on a certain Metallica song. (I particularly like this version, so if you’re convinced you don’t like Metallica, or you’re not sure, this would be a SUPER link to click on. Seriously. As we say in Ultimate, chilly chilly chilly!)


Susan Speaks: The Curse of the Red Boots



That’s a crummy picture of my feet yesterday.

I wasn’t feeling optimistic about the outcome of my latest appointment with the surgeon. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what a “good” outcome or “good” news could be.

So I wore my red Teva hiking boots. They have been cursed so far: I’ve worn them twice to the surgeon. The first time, I found out the pressure in my eye was too high and the visit dragged on and I wound up on the altitude sickness medicine that made me sick, loopy, and exhausted. All at once. The second time I wore the boots was the last visit, when the scar tissue and detachment were discovered.

Clearly, the boots are the problem.

Which is why I wore them. I was either sealing my fate or breaking the curse of the red boots.

To help push the situation in my favor, I paired my red boots (yes, on St. Paddy’s Day, even) with my favorite Metallica shirt. Because nothing says powerful good luck like a totally obscure band t-shirt that I can’t find a picture of in Google Images. (You Met old-school Met fans, it’s the shadow man, with a design that is cool until you look at the back, and then it’s effing cool)

The Curse of the Red Boots was broken by the Massive Magic of the Mighty Metallica.

The detachment is still there. It must be small because the fellow couldn’t see it. It’s not interfering with my vision, either.

Unless it turns into a tear, I’m going to live with it. No, the retina won’t die if it’s not pressed up against its snuggle bunny, the eye itself.

And the vision I’m swearing about? Should resolve itself over the next year. Yes, I said year. Do the nine weeks already under my belt count toward that year? Maybe. I didn’t ask. Don’t really care. Fifty-two weeks or forty-one… it’ll happen on its own time frame, although right now, I am healing ahead of schedule. (Hello, Mr. Cataract. We’ve been expecting you. Table for one?)

This brings new restrictions in my life. No more ice hockey, even though I haven’t played in over 20 years. No new contact sports, which really got ruled out when my hip went south. And eye protection, eye protection, eye protection. After all, I only have one good eye. I can’t risk it.

That brought me and the boy over to my eye doctor last night. We picked out a new pair of glasses (with clip-on polarized shades. I’m so excited!) and I have an appointment to adjust the prescription the right eye is peering through, with the intention of doing it a couple of times until things resolve. Yes, it’ll be expensive. But dammit, I’m worth it.

Actually, it’s not a question of worth. It’s that seeing life with the slightest of blurred edges is damn annoying and if we can fix it, we’re fixing it. And those clip-on shades? Best thing since Twinkies (the old recipe, thankyouverymuch) because frankly, wearing a pair of sunglasses over my current glasses is not a sexy look, and I have an inside line on my hottie coach. The team’s been practicing. They have a showcase this weekend which I have to miss ’cause I’m taking part of the boy’s team to a tournament. Hottie coach is back in town.

Susan’s gotta be at her best, man.

Which makes one wonder just how gentle my new life has to be lived. I mean… hot man? Restraint? Aren’t those oxymorons?

I’m just glad the curse of the red boots is over and I can wear them confidently again.


A Rocktober-worthy Book Coveting


You’d think the publishers are getting on board with this whole Rocktober thing, wouldn’t you? I’ve come across articles and press releases and blog posts about all sorts of celeb bios and memoirs. (Yes, they ARE different creatures, in case you didn’t know.)

First up is a book that actually came out near the end of September, but needs to be blogged about today. It’s from a man who appeared on this blog LAST Rocktober, with luxury guitar straps (and if he’s not a man who deserves luxury guitar straps, no one is).

Yep, it’s Kirk Hammett, the lead guitarist of Metallica, and he’s got a book out about his fixation with all things horror. It’s called Too Much Horror Business — the Kirk Hammett collection and I’m sure it’s filled with the usual never-before-seen pictures and insights. The difference this time is that this is stuff we truly haven’t seen ’cause it’s in Kirk’s house and all. And he talks about it, which he really hasn’t done before, at least not that I’ve seen.

People’s collections are always fascinating things — IF the stories behind them are well told.

I have faith in Kirk.

He’d better not let me down. His band’s been my favorite for WAY too long now. I don’t want to have to find another.


Rocktober Book Coveting!


Yes, there’s more to covet this Rocktober. Everyone’s jumping on the Rocktober bandwagon, and it’s an activity I heartily endorse and encourage.

Now it’s the legendary Peter Criss, who’s penned his own memoir, Makeup to Breakup.

Sounds ominous, no? Well, not if you know the story of Kiss and the fact that Criss left the band years ago and we’re all over it now, and Beth will never sound the same again. (Hey, wait. Didn’t I just say we’re all over it? Unlike Dave Mustaine and that first band of his. Oy. Time to move on, people! Nothing left to see; the bones haven’t merely been picked clean. They’ve been buried under drifting sediment.)

Today’s the scheduled release date for Makeup or Breakup, so head over to your favorite retailer (yes, I’m still giving bonus points if you go to an independent bookstore) and pick up a copy for me.

Or one for yourself.

Really. I won’t mind.


I’ll mind even less if you’d like to borrow this here blog to post your review!


NOT the Rocktober mascot


For a long time there, bobbleheads were the way to go. I even have a James Hetfield bobblehead on the shelf above my desk. It’s the old style, the one that was recalled and smashed. One escaped — although not without some damage to the headstock of his guitar — and now lives with me.

I like Recalled James. He has no pupils, for one. Since he was created by Tony Squindo, he’s got that kid vibe going — no Scary Het here. And he makes me smile. I like to smile.

A month or so ago, I heard of a new collectible: an Iggy Pop bobblehead. Only a thousand have been made, which is probably a good thing. Iggy in person is something else. A little bit scary, yeah. And the cutting? Does he still do that? Ugh. I hope not, and not just because part of Iggy Pop’s innate coolness is that he’s too cool to do the trendy thing.

Back to the bobblehead… this guy gives me nightmares. He’s not going to be the mascot of Rocktober in these parts. Not this year.

And you smart-asses? No need to buy me one and put it aside for my birthday, okay? I’d hate to see what he’d do to my precious, friendly James…


Featured New Book: A Question of Fire by Karen McCullough


I’m part of a forthcoming anthology of essays. I’ve mentioned this before. They’re built around Stacy Juba‘s book, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, and will be out sometime in the fall. You’ll want to check it out, I know — if only to read my essay. Which you know you want to.

Anyway, I told my fellow anthology contributors to feel free to drop in for a Featured New Book Spotlight. Last week, Michele Drier did. This week, it’s Karen McCullough with her new book, A Question of Fire

I asked her: What song makes you think of your book?

Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

So many lines of this song resonate with me and remind me of my novel, A Question of Fire. In the larger sense, it’s kind of a personal theme song. I’ve never been one to write to the market or even to stick to a particular genre. I wrote A Question of Fire at a time when there was no real market for romantic suspense, but I HAD to write that book. It was in my head, begging me to get it down. And when it was done (and revised several times), a number of the rejections I got from agents and editors played that theme: like the book, don’t know how to market it. It took almost ten years before it finally found a publisher. It’s been out of print for a long time, but I have the rights back to it, and I’ve recently released it in ebook format. I’m incredibly thrilled to make this book available again.

“Every day for us something new, Open mind for a different view.” When Catherine Bennett is the recipient of Bobby Stark’s dying words, it catapults her into a world of danger and new possibilities. If she were a different sort of person, she might have ignored the plea the dying man made of her and just hidden out until the peril passed. But that would have left his brother, Danny, in danger of being convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. Danny isn’t a particularly nice or attractive person, but Cathy isn’t the sort who would leave him in danger when she has the key to rescuing him. Or part of the key, anyway.

“Trust I seek, and I find in you” is one of the themes of the book. None of the main characters in A Question of Fire are particularly trusting sorts, for a variety of reasons. The heroine is a journalist and professionally skeptical. The hero has been burned by a former wife who cheated on him. Danny is a young man whose violent, abusive upbringing has taught him to trust no one but his late, older brother. In the course of the story, all three learn to believe in each other, sometimes painfully, sometimes stumbling toward it. And several times in the course of the story that trust is tested in desperate situations.

“So close, no matter how far.” In a pivotal scene in the story, the heroine is separated from the other characters and her life is in mortal danger. There’s only one thing she can do, but it’s risky, and it involves a huge leap of faith in her distant companions.

“And nothing else matters.” In the end…. Well, you’ll just have to read the book to see.

Oh, yeah. You guys KNOW I approve of the choice. (Be glad I didn’t link to Godsmack’s version of the song. Heard it yet? Heard it when Sully and James sang together when they toured together? Mmm. Yeah. Good stuff, there. Anyway, back to the book.)

book blurb!

When Catherine Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won’t enjoy it, but she doesn’t expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms and becoming the recipient of his last message. Bobby Stark has evidence that will prove his younger brother has been framed for arson and murder. He wants that evidence to get to his brother’s lawyer, and he tries to tell Cathy where he’s hidden it. Unfortunately, he can only manage to give her a cryptic piece of the location before he dies.

The man who killed Bobby saw him talking to her and assumes she knows where the evidence is hidden. He wants it back and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it, including following her and trying to kidnap her.

Cathy enlists the aid of attorney Peter Lowell and Danny Stark, Bobby’s prickly, difficult younger brother, as well as a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.

Buy links!
Amazon (for Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (for Nook)
Other formats (Smashwords)

Personal links!



The stars are in alignment


I can’t believe the world is this coordinated. I can’t, and not just because if I do buy into it, it means I’m a bigger disorganized mess than I am willing to face. That’s simply not an option.

What’s going on is that the summer is being set up for a summer of Metallica, something I ordinarily would be totally into. And maybe I am, but it’s hard to tell when I’m so focused on selling the existing books, writing new ones, and building up the editing business. Which means: my Metalli-love is limited and I didn’t travel to their inaugural Orion Music + More festival. (Hmm. I wonder if next year, I could be a vendor and go sell books, even though that’s not the sort of vendor they’re looking for… what do you guys think?) Truth be told, I was okay with missing it, if only because the only bands I’m currently interested in seeing are Avenged Sevenfold and, of course, the Mighty Met themselves. And there was that pesky matter of being at Boy Scout camp.

Sheesh. When did Metallica fall in importance to the Boy Scouts? It’s funny how life changes.

Which means if I hadn’t been at camp, I’d have stayed home and read a book. Or two. Doesn’t matter which (although one’s made me yawn already).

Two Metallica books are coming out. The first is Birth. School. Metallica. Death. Yep, it’s the one that made me yawn, and I’m still yawning even with word that the book is finally scheduled for a US release — in fall of 2013. Which is, obviously, after the Orion festival, but whatever. We’re still seeing a lot of Metallica for a band who’s NOT recording a new album, let alone releasing it.

The other book is called Metallica: The Early Years and the Rise of Metal. It’s purportedly going to focus on “the massive impact of METALLICA’s first four albums on the international metal scene. The 208-page book shows the birth and rise of the monster known as METALLICA and will link the band — and the American metal scene — with the famed New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement in the U.K. and metal originators such as BLACK SABBATH and JUDAS PRIEST.” (Quote yanked from the press release I saw.)

It’s supposed to be the first and only book to do this.

Okay… I’ll reserve judgment, if you don’t mind.

At least this book is giving details about author Neil Daniels, even if they only say, “Daniels has written about classic rock and heavy metal for a wide range of magazines, fanzines and websites. He has written books on JUDAS PRIEST, Robert Plant, BON JOVI, LINKIN PARK and JOURNEY.” — it’d be nice if they’d provide titles and/or links to some of those backlist titles…

This one’s set to release on May 28, which means you could have read it before the Orion festival and used it to get all pumped. Or, if it sucks, I suppose you could make a collection of biographies about Metallica and say THAT’s your collection required to be a vendor…


Featured New Book: No Remorse by MaryLynn Bast


I got all excited when I saw the title of MaryLynn Bast’s new book. No Remorse.

Metallica alert!

But… nope. Here’s what song makes Mary think of her book:

Pink is my favorite female singer. I love her bad kick ass attitude and she reminds me of Amber, and her song “Perfect”, is actually a perfect for description of Amber’s life up until she meets back up with Blake.
“Made a wrong turn once or twice.
Dug my way out, blood and fire.
Bad decisions, that’s alright.
Welcome to my silly life.
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood!
Miss “No way, It’s all good”, it didn’t slow me down.
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated!
Look, I’m still around…”

Ahh, Pink’s a favorite around here. It probably doesn’t have the Family Friendly alert that the other song I linked to does…

So what’s Mary’s No Remorse about, anyway?

Due to her unusual birth, Amber has abilities no other werewolf has ever possessed. On the run since childhood, the lone wolf avoids contact with other werewolves at all cost, continually moving, constantly looking over her shoulder and always alone.

Everything changes when Amber saves a werewolf from the mere brink of death, Blake, the only werewolf to ever protect her. Love blossoms, but not without tribulations when Amber realizes she must help her new pack rescue a member who is being held hostage by a rival pack.

Warring with emotions of going from lone wolf to the pack leader’s mate, Amber must decide if she is willing to risk Blake’s life to know true family and friendship despite the fact that the Council is hell bent on locating her and will stop at nothing until she is found. Will Amber’s special abilities be enough to keep everyone safe?

Links you’d like to have:
Book Trailer
Facebook (author page)


Susan’s Book Talk: To Live is to Die


Most of my readers know I consider myself to be a self-respecting metalhead. To that degree, I’ve seen author Joel McIver’s name around. I had yet to pick up one of his books — professional jealousy, don’tcha know — but when my friend Mary at BookHounds turned me on to To Live is To Die: The Life and Death of Metallica’s Cliff Burton, I knew it was time to stop being green with envy and take the plunge.
I got a copy from the good folk at Jawbone Press, and was off and reading.

The first thing that struck me was the energy in the narrative. That’s the best word for it: energy. There are other words that work well, too: enthusiasm, passion, depth of knowledge. McIver is more than a fan of this heavy metal world we both adore. It’s his life, and it shows.

And you ask why I’m jealous of the man?

If I have any complaint with the book, it’s that we really don’t get to know Cliff all that well. There are two reasons for this, of course: he was a very private person who didn’t let people in very easily (if at all) and, well, he’s a little hard to reach with in-depth questions. The guy is, after all, rather deceased.

Which truly sucks. I’m intrigued by Cliff Burton. By a guy who wore bell-bottoms when no one else would. By someone who had enough money to move out but stayed living in his parents’ small apartment. By a musical genius whose presence, all these years later, still hovers over the band he found success with.

I may not entirely agree with all of McIver’s statements about the twists and turns the Metallica musical catalog has taken since Cliff so rudely left the guys, but McIver makes me understand where he’s coming from. I can respect that, especially when it’s put forth with such enthusiasm and energy.

Best of all, McIver breaks down Cliff’s parts in each of the three albums of songs he contributed to. As a non-musician, at first I thought I wouldn’t care about all that gobbeldy-gook. More kudos need to head McIver’s way, however, because not only was it completely intelligible (and, to be fair, I did have a number of years of piano lessons and the high school drumline, so it wasn’t entirely a foreign language to me), but I found myself reaching for my iPod, pushing my headphones more securely into my ears, and listening hard for Cliff’s parts. Lo and behold, I could hear them. I got it in a way I never have before.

Needless to say, that led to a marathon of music listening, sometimes with the book open so I could follow along and sometimes (Yes, I’m going to admit this) on an exercise bike at the Hoity Toity Health Club. Hey, sometimes you do what you have to do and with the entire Metallica catalog on my iPod, how could I resist? Besides, people tend to leave you alone when you’re bicycling furiously, hands plastered to your ears and that distant look of concentration in your eyes.

While I’d been hoping for more details that would flesh out who Cliff really was, what I brought away To Live is to Die wasn’t so much about the man, himself, as opposed to the man’s music. And for someone who always focused more on the music than on the men (and women) who make it, that suits me just fine.

So I’m over my professional jealousy of Joel McIver. Mostly. Sort of.

Okay, I’m not even close to it. But I’ll certainly find a comfortable spot on his bandwagon and devour the rest of what he’s written.