Tag Archives: Rocktober

Monday Things


Some Monday Things to start your week off…

It’s Rocktober at The Rock of Pages, so head on over and check out the fun. Today kicks off our first author guest blog, with my buddy Jessica Topper stopping in to talk about how she named Digger and Riff.

Sharon Cathcart and I are both offering our Rock Fiction on sale this month. I’ve set The Demo Tapes: Year 1 to free (everywhere but Amazon, of course, since they don’t like to make my books free) and Trevor’s Song to 99c. Grab ’em both at your favorite retailers (Sharon’s sale is a Smashwords-only sale, but if you’re not buying your books at Smashwords, you should be. Best royalties for authors in the business).

If you’ve been following me at the West of Mars Fans Facebook page, you know I’ve been writing again. My first goal was 100 words, which it had been since the end of the Pennwriters conference last May. That lasted… a day, I think, when my first day’s word count was something like 2200. Then the goal became 1000 words a day, and I settled in around 1500 words. There were two days between the start of my drafting blitz in September and last night when I didn’t make the wordcount. My fiction writing has to happen once my editing is done, which generally means after school and into the evening. So the first day I missed the word count, I was busy with the kids from after school until late. I think I wrote 700 words that day.

The other day I missed was just last week. An honest mistake that, I was told, wasn’t a problem until someone else made it a problem, sent me into a PTSD flashback and a migraine that levelled me for the day and into the next. I got a painful 330 words down. I also had a pretty fascinating bit of self-reflection.

In terms of editing, since that’s what you really all come here to hear about, November dates (and beyond) are still open. Grab ’em while the grabbing’s good. And yes, if you have a friend who’d like to break into editing, rather than shorting your regular editor’s income, send your friend to me. I’m always looking to expand the West of Mars subcontractor list and help more authors enjoy the .001% accuracy percentage we’ve established. And yes, I did the math. Me. I did math. We pay baseball players millions for a 33% return. Why are you dumping your editor over .001?


Gearing up for Rocktober 2015


Yep, it’s that time again. Actually, it’s a little late for me to get started on Rocktober. But here we are. The days are counting down and …

I have space at The Rock of Pages for Rocktober this year. Lots of space.

If you’re an author of Rock Fiction, come on over and write me a guest blog about anything, although we all seem to like the “how I named my rocker” posts.

If you’re a reviewer or reader, I’ll gladly reblog any reviews you’ve written. Send it on in HTML and we’ll get it up.

If you’re not an author, reviewer, or reader but want to do something else, holler. It’s Rocktober, so pretty much anything goes. It’s about what happens when books and music — all music, not just rock and roll — collide, so have at it.

As I try to do every year, let’s have this year’s Rocktober outdo last year’s.


#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.



#Rocktober approaches


It seems strange to be here at West of Mars and not be gearing up for Rocktober. And I am, albeit on a smaller scale this year, but over at The Rock of Pages. Jett’s trying to take over some of the load, but she’s been plenty busy this year, too.

Still, not everyone has transitioned over there, and this message will find eyes that may not see The Rock of Pages. So here it is.

If you’re a Rock Fiction author, feel free to stop in with one of the following posts:

An interview

A guest blog about why you Rock Fiction (or anything that ties into Rock Fiction)

A post about someone else’s Rock Fiction that you’d like to read

A review of someone else’s Rock Fiction that you have read.


And if you’re a fan, join in, too! Here’s what I’m looking for:

A post about Rock Fiction that you’d like to read.

A review of someone else’s Rock Fiction that you have read.


But, of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. If you have ideas that Jett and I haven’t thought of, holler. We’re open to anything. And if you want to join in but not at The Rock of Pages, that’s fine. Send us a link and we’ll get it up.

Rocktober is always fun. Don’t miss out.


Rocktober Hangovers


Whew. It’s been six days since November 1 hit and Rocktober ended and I’m still hungover as anything. What a month! What great books!

I hope you guys found some; there sure were enough of them.

I’m busy downloading Rock Fiction that many authors and friends were kind enough to send me. So kind, I don’t know how I’m going to get it all read — let alone which order to read it all in. Right now, I’m grateful for my Nook, which will save me from lugging all the books around and deciding which to read by using that old method of throwing them down the steps and reading whichever lands near the top ’cause I’m lazy.

Lots of Rock Fiction surprises await during the upcoming year, so stay tuned. The goal is to use the Rock Fiction genre as a lynchpin for some really cool changes and opportunities. After all, no one knows Rock Fiction or champions the genre more than yours truly (although Deena at e-Book Builders? Wow.)


Rocktober Features Anne-Marie Klein!


Even though my buddy Deena at e-Book Builders beat me to featuring Anne-Marie Klein and her awesome (but still unread over here) books, Anne-Marie gave me a doozy of a way to end Rocktober.

She’s written us a guest blog post of two of Toronto’s classic Rock and Roll landmarks.

Sam the Record Man
This photo was taken by Keith Seatman and is used here with his kind permission. You can see Keith’s work at: http://testtransmissionarchive.blogspot.ca/ — at Sam the Record Man, iconic Toronto landmark, sadly no longer there.

Los Angeles had Tower Records and Toronto had Sam The Record Man: not only were these iconic record stores, but much like the long yellow banner with its bright red lettering evoked Sunset Boulevard, the twin neon records of Sam’s storefront epitomised the Yonge Street strip as the destination for music fans in the Toronto of the 1970s. The three floors had it all: rock, pop, folk, jazz, blues, reggae, punk, classical, and all sorts of smaller niche markets like children’s albums, foreign language bands, and comedy. You could get lost searching the endless rack of its multiple levels, and I often did.

The chain was started by Sam and Sidney Sniderman in 1937, and the flagship store was established on Yonge Street in 1961. While the double-discs of neon surely helped draw shoppers and make Sam’s a Toronto landmark, it was the wealth of records that kept music fans coming back. I remember my first purchase there—it was Let It Be by the Beatles, for slightly less than $4, and I know that I bought most of my 45s there too through the mid to late parts of the 1970s. I can still see the yellow and red discs of Styx’s Equinox and The Who’s Who Are You dangling on strings from the ceiling as promotional displays of the new “coloured vinyl” phase. It must have worked as a marketing ploy because I still have both copies in my collection.

The linoleum floor was often dirty and tiles curled up under your feet or cracked as you walked by, and the albums snaked up far above my 13-year-old body’s maximum reach, but I loved every corner of the place. I always stole a glance or two at the good-looking sales assistants between finger flips of the alphabetical racks: the young men always wore some kind of cool, faded concert tee-shirt and a nice fitting pair of Levi’s or Lee’s. I admit that on more than one occasion I asked questions to the ones I had a crush on in my teenager years despite already knowing the answers.

The beauty of the Yonge Street strip in the late 70s and early 80s was the proliferation of record stores within two blocks of its Dundas intersection—A&A’s, Music World, and Sunrise Records were all a few steps away from Sam’s, and jumping between them to hunt down bargains kept prices low and allowed me to rapidly expand my collection in a few short years. My favourite aventure was always heading down on Boxing Day, which coincided with my birthday and allowed me to spend gifted money from that and from Christmas and get many popular releases at door crasher prices.

The ultimate tribute I chose to give Sam’s was to let it grace the opening pages of the first book in my series, Behind Blue Eyes. It was a downtown destination for all Toronto music lovers, and so it seemed quite natural that one of my main characters would take her birthday money and spend it there. In those first few pages, she is my mirrored self, with the same Pink Floyd shirt and jeans, imitating me in every fashion except one—I never did meet my first love between those endless record racks. I did, however, just like her, walk out of Sam’s and find Eddie Money next door at A&A’s because on that day, the price was irrestible next door.

The ElMocambo Tavern:

The El Mocambo is another one of those Toronto landmarks that is partly famous for its iconic sign: much like Sam the Record Man’s double neon discs, the coconut palm of the tavern make it instantly recognizable. It hosted bands like U2, Elvis Costello, Blondie, and MeatLoaf in its heyday as a live venue for major rock acts. And there is that small matter of the infamous Rolling Stones gig there in 1977 involving some escapades with the band by Margaret Trudeau, then-wife of our Prime Minister…

I must confess that I have never stepped inside the El Mocambo. I was not old enough to see all the great bands that played there in the 70s, although I have fond memories of listening to the live Q107 presentations late on Friday or Saturday nights. It was through those shows that I developed a fondness for punk bands like the TRB (Tom Robinson Band). My connection to the tavern and nightclub is much more personal and goes back to the late 50s, when The German club rented some dance floor space. There, on a blind date in 1959, my smooth-stepping father met my mother and the rest, as they say, is history. It didn’t matter to me as a teenager that Jimi Hendrix or the Stones had played there as much as the idea that I could say to my classmates: ”Oh, yeah, my parents met at the El Mo.” Instant cool.

The El Mocambo was recently purchased with the intention of returning it to its former rock and roll glory. When the club is finally reopened, it will be time, I think, for me to finally do a pilgrimage.

Hey, lady, when it does, I am SO THERE with you!

Pick up Anne-Marie’s books!










Still More Rocktober gems


Ahh, it’s been a fabulous month of Rocktober goodies, has it not? Found something awesome to read this month?

And don’t forget to pick up your copies of Trevor’s Song and Demo Tapes 4 while they’re still on sale for 99c.

Already got ’em? Given them to friends? Then check out these titles, once again featured by the lovely Deena at e-Book Builders:

Rockin’ Across the Galaxy by David Kimmel. On the surface (very on the surface!), this reminds me of Rob Reid’s awesome Year Zero: science fiction, music, aliens attracted by rock and roll… But that seems to be where the similarities end. Year Zero, after all, was satire. Brilliant satire. This? Seems to take itself more seriously. I’d like to read it.

Another Rock Star by Paula Coots looks interesting. An openly gay man on the road? Well, history’s provided us with one — a man who managed to insert the gay culture into the heavy metal culture without most people knowing or even suspecting. (Anyone? Bueller?) Looking at the description of this one, I am most curious to read it, and not just because of the gay angle. Check out the excerpt on e-Book Builders.

And finally, author Sophie Monroe brings her Battlescars series to e-Book Builders. Deena is featuring the second book, but the third looks like it came out next month. I’m not sure what the overall arc of the series is; I need to investigate more. If you know, hit up the comments!


A Rock Fiction Trifecta


Here I go again with the horsie references… can you tell that a few weeks ago, my dreams of being a jockey (hey, I’m the right height!) came back and smacked me in the face?

Well, I’ve got something better than horses for you today. WAY better.

I have a trio of posts that Deena at e-Book Builders used to feature Rock Fiction author Jill Edmondson.

There’s the interview.

The excerpt.

And a guest blog post.

Wow, huh?

Go check it out. And if you’ve read Jill’s books, be sure to let me know what you think of them.


Win More Rock Fiction!


Every month, Mary at BookHounds gives away a themed mystery box full of goodies, and this month is no exception (I might even enter, which sort of makes me wonder why I’m telling my competition to go throw their names in the hat).

Now, while the books are all music-themed, I might be a bit premature in saying they are all Rock Fiction. In fact, I’m not sure any of them are. So whoever wins, let me know, okay?

Go check out the first parts of the blurbs and throw your name in the hat. It’s Rocktober, after all. Time to live dangerously, in the rock and roll lifestyle. And besides, the entries aren’t huge. Not yet. Not until you all go enter, if only to save me from the piles of books waiting for me around here…


Rocktober from the Horse’s Mouth


I probably shouldn’t be referring to any of these notable stars as horses, but sometimes, you gotta use the cliches as you find them.

The horses in question are some of rock’s royalties. And the jockey, if I’m going to carry this metaphor into dark and dangerous places (Hey, it’s Halloween. Why not?), is none other than my Rocktober buddy this year, the awesome Deena at e-Book Builders.

She’s got a feature up about rock memoirs. Most that I want to read, a few that I have in the house… and my ultimate, all-time favorite Rock Memoir.

Go ahead. Take a peek. Let me know which you’ve read, which you’ve loved, which you’ve hated, and which make you insist there’s not enough money on the planet to convince you to read.


Smooth as glass… right?


If you have been here a long time, or if you’ve already read Demo Tapes (Year 4), you’ll recognize the excerpt from DT4 that Deena at e-Book Builders was kind enough to post.

It’s one of my favorites, but it may not be safe for work, depending on your workplace’s language policy. Are f-bombs okay?

Ahh, you all need to come work for West of Mars. No language policy. No dress code.

But that’s another plug for another day. Go (re)acquaint yourself with Glass. Pick up a copy of Demo Tapes 4 while you’re at it… or any of the books in the Trevolution that you’ve missed so far.

Go on. It won’t hurt.


Featured New Book: Eviscerated Panda – A Metal Tale by Sarah Tipper


The beauty of Rocktober is that I, too, get to discover Rock Fiction that’s new to me. As much as I want to be THE ultimate expert in all things Rock Fiction, the genre is growing fast and I often need help. After all, I still have an editing business to run and areas there to expand into.

panda cover

So I think it’s Deena at e-Book Builders who I need to thank for turning me on to Sarah Tipper and her cool world of the Eviscerated Panda. Isn’t that one of the best band names ever?

I have faith the rest of the book is as good.

So. Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Sarah.

The song which makes me think of my book is: Back In Black by AC/DC. Like the song my book is fast paced and populated by people wearing black. It’s got the kind of guitar that squeals its way into your heart. It’s optimistic as well as dark. It’ll rock your socks clean off and hide them under the bed and then look at your ass while you’re trying to find them. It’s comfortable in any bar or club and is best served with a JD and coke.

Ready for the blurb? It’s as much fun as the idea of guitars that squeal their way into your heart. (Isn’t that a great line!)

Eviscerated Panda are a newly formed thrash metal band. They are the brainchild of ageing lead guitarist Phil Winter. They represent his big hope for regaining his former musical self-esteem and his luck with the ladies. Phil had to hastily exit stage left from his last band when his dalliances with the drummer’s fiancee were discovered. Young singer and underachiever Nick loves the band because it provides an escape from his dull job in a supermarket. For rhythm guitarist Ian it’s all he’s ever wanted to do. For bass player Jim it’s a pleasant hobby, at least to begin with. For drummer Paul it’s a step up from being in a covers band and a sometime causer of arguments between him and his wife. A band is much more than just the musicians in it, it’s a whole ecosystem. A female perspective is given by close friends Cleo and Jenni as the Pandas play to and hang out with an audience comprised of friends, fans,
wives, girlfriends, future girlfriends, lovers, promoters, other bands, interested spectators and uninterested spectators. After a nervous first gig in their native Reading they play in Swindon, Coventry, Oxford, Dudley, Brighton, Birmingham and Camden. In between gigs they mostly go to the pub, eat biscuits, record an E.P, read a girl’s guide to heavy metal written by Cleo, practice and make grandiose plans for their future. Occasionally they get laid. Even more occasionally they get paid to play. If you like heavy metal and reading books which are not designed for education nor enlightenment then this is for you.

Buy links:
Amazon only, gang. (Bummer)

4. Personal links:


Rocktober: Authors and their tunes


The best part of Rocktober is that it can be about different things. The rule is that Rocktober is a celebration of the collision of books and music, so it makes sense to bring attention to my friend Darcia Helle.

She’s got a long post that’s totally cool and worth reading — and listening too — about how and what music inspires her.

Go meet some new bands you may not have heard of. And, as always let me know who you’re listening to — and if you have other Rocktober news to share, give me a holler.


Rocktober gets a Concert Killer


Part of the fun of Rocktober is when other bloggers and authors join in, and my good friend Deena at eBook Builders (if you need your e-book formatted, she’s the one to call. Either direct or through me) is featuring another good friend of mine — author RJ McDonnell and his third book, The Concert Killer.

Go read the post, of course. Turns out, this is the second of four parts with RJ!

I’ve read The Concert Killer, but think his first novel in the series, Rock and Roll Homicide is the best of the three I’ve read (the other one was the second, Rock and Roll Rip-Off). Loved the quirky characters.

Go see what I mean. And keep on rocking!


Rockin’ to Rocktober


I’m trying to be a bit more organized about Rocktober this year, so I thought I’d invite you ALL to join in.

Here’s what I’m looking for from authors:
Featured New Book Spotlights. These can run any day of the week, so long as they focus on Rock Fiction.

Know what else I’d like? Blurbs about your books. I’ll feature your book that way, too, if you are too busy or even too far removed from your book to do it justice with a Featured New Book.

From readers and bloggers:
Pick a book. Write a blurb about it.

Send me links to reviews you’ve written recently (always the best; authors like to know they’re still being read) or in the past.

If you decide to host a Rock Fiction author for a blog post or an interview about why Rock Fiction, send me the link! I’d be glad to feature it. Again, feel free to dig through your archives.

My goal is to fill all thirty-one days in Rocktober with at least one Rock Fiction goodie. Decide how you want to celebrate, pick a date, and it’s yours. Hopefully you’ll get to share it — that’s a good thing! The more Rock Fiction, the better. Many would agree with that statement, so let’s show our love for the genre!

Not sure if it’s Rock Fiction? Here’s a list for you to start with. Find something that appeals and rock on.


Rocktober Tease


I finished a book earlier in the week that has become one of my new favorite Rock Fiction books of all time.

Amazing, mind-blowing, totally altering the way anyone will view the music business and what it takes to get big…

But you’ll have to wait until Rocktober to hear more about it.

I’ve still got plenty of room if anyone wants to join in! I am going about it a bit more organized this year and am hoping to be able to feature a book and/or author a day, either here or elsewhere.

Join in! Spread the word! This year’s Rocktober will be the best yet!

Drop me an e-mail if you’d like to play along.


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…


Rocktober Book Coveting


Just in time for Rocktober!

(Well, unless it’s been delayed, which sorta ruins the plans)

The one, the only, the legendary Pete Townshend has finally written his memoirs. It’s only taken him something like 40 years to get around to this, but I think that’s a bonus — there’s more for him to include! It’s supposed to have been released yesterday, so scurry over to your favorite retailer (bonus points if you shop at an indie and no, Amazon’s not an indie!) and score your very own copy.

What do you mean, “Who’s Pete Townshend?”


As in THE Who. As in Pinball Wizard and Roger Daltry and groundbreaking, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (From way back in 1990, even! They got in EARLY, and for good reason, too). As in, as in, as in…

You KNOW I need this one, and pronto. Yesterday. Back in September on the day I drafted this post, in fact…


Rocktober has begun!


Yep, it’s time for that annual celebration we call Rocktober in these parts. If you’re new around here, that means we celebrate the collision of music and books all month long.

I don’t have a super-awesome lineup like I did last year, but I did drop the prices on my books at Smashwords and (supposedly) Amazon. there are some fun things ahead, and there are more players this year, too.

If you’re one of them, drop me a note in my comments here or on the West of Mars Fans Facebook page.

If you run into one, encourage the site owner to drop in and leave it him/herself.

As you guys give them to me, I’ll link them up at the bottom of this post, so be sure to bookmark it and check back frequently.

As October rocks on, do the same, will ya? Let’s celebrate the amazing collision of books and music.


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.

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