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I’m Hosting Mailbox Monday #146

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. Thanks to Amused by Books for hosting last month.

As host for this month, I have a couple giveaways planned, but mostly its about sharing books and the love of reading, so I hope in addition to leaving your post links in Mr. Linky that you’ll peek around Savvy Verse & Wit.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1. Survivors by James Wesley Rawles, which came unsolicited from the publisher.

2.  Waking by Ron Rash from Hub City Press for review.

3.  You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark, a win from Bermudaonion.

4.  Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress from the editor for review.

5. The Last Nude by Ellis Avery unrequested from Penguin.

6. Trevor's Song by Susan Helene Gottfried of West of Mars, which I purchased and had autographed.

7. To the End of the War (unpublished fiction) by James Jones from the publisher, Open Road Media, for review. I have a paperback version, but could only find the Kindle link.

For today’s giveaway, enter in the comments to win My God, What Have We Done? by Susan V. Weiss, which I reviewed last week. You’ll receive my gently used copy.

Deadline to enter is Oct. 8, 2011, at 11:59 PM EST. I’ll announce the winner at the next Mailbox Monday.

What did you get this week?  Leave your link, and a comment if you wish to enter the giveaway or just chat.

ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 2

Susan Helene Gottfried‘s ShapeShifter:  The Demo Tapes, Year 2 is another volume of outtakes, short stories, and character sketches related to her newly published novel, Trevor’s Song.  The band ShapeShifter is like a wheel with its center, Trevor and Mitchell, and the spokes around that wheel.  Once these guys are on the road, look out because it’s a wild ride.

What readers will enjoy most about this second slim volume is the camaraderie between the characters, the outbursts they have, and the seemingly mundane yet fun conversations they have.  For example, there’s a conversation between Mitchell and Trevor before they make it big as rock stars about why Mitchell should get an earring — sounds like a typical teenage disagreement/peer pressure situation.

“‘No one’s gonna think I’m gay,’ Precious Boy said.  ‘That’s not the problem.’

‘Yeah, and I’m already a fucking rock star.’  Trevor eyed Mitchell, convinced he knew what the guy was about to whine:  It’ll hurt, Trev.

‘Dad,’ Mitchell said instead.  Without whining; in fact, he was pretty damned convinced.  ‘He meant it when he said he’d kick me out of the house if I do it.’

Trevor smirked.  ‘You’re not going to do it.  I am.’

‘Same thing, as far as Dad cares.’

Trevor sighed as loudly as he could.  Was Mitchell really this stupid? ‘That’s why you grew your hair out, asshole.’

‘I thought it was to get girls.’

‘Well, since you’re too lame to make that work, maybe this is the reason.'” (page 24 of ARC)

What writers will enjoy about this inside look at the band and its antics are the introductions Gottfried has included about what inspired her to write particular snippets.  When discussing the short outtake “Hands,” she notes, “Sometimes, fiction is like this.  Something springs out of an unidentified source.  It dares you to set it down on a page or screen, to save it in ink or memory cards.”  (page 71)

Readers will thoroughly enjoy getting to know these characters as they prepare to read Trevor’s Song, and most will want to buy the Demo Tapes 1 and 2 before the novel, especially since they get to learn about the characters’ histories with one another and even before they met.  Well done, Susan Helene Gottfried.

***Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review.***

About the Author: (from Amazon.com)

Susan Helene Gottfried is the author of The Demo Tapes: Year 1, The Demo Tapes: Year 2, and Trevor’s Song, three books (and counting) about the fictional band ShapeShifter.

A tone-deaf rocker at heart, Susan worked in retail record stores, in radio stations, as stage crew, and as a promoter while earning two college degrees in creative writing.

Drop in at Susan’s online world: http://westofmars.com and stop by the official author’s blog, The Meet and Greet. Check out the book reviews at Rocks ‘n Reads, and see what other writers are up to around the Internet at Win a Book.

Susan Helene Gottfried discusses blog tours

Today, we have a guest post from our wonderful blogging buddy Susan Helene Gottfried of West of Mars fame. If you missed my review of The Demo Tapes Year 1, check it out. If you missed my two part interview with her, check it out as well.

She’s discussing The Demo Tapes and blog tours. . . and offering one ebook copy of The Demo Tapes Year 2. Stay Tuned for details . . . and now let me turn it over to Susan.

I was recently having a discussion with another author about virtual book tours. She wanted to know if they work, if they result in book sales. The general consensus was that no one knows for certain, but then again, you can say that about almost any advertisting campaign, especially something not done through one of the major advertising agencies.

We authors are often in a hard spot. We’re told that we shouldn’t pay to be published, that money ought to flow to us — but we need to pony up and pay for a publicist. Have you see what some literary publicists charge? Some authors can’t even afford a small Virtual Book Tour through one of the established companies. This author I was speaking to was one of them.

Then she said something that horrified me. She wanted to set up a book tour for herself, on her own. But the “big book bloggers” will only talk to an author’s publicist. And she didn’t want to visit the smaller book bloggers, the ones with only a few readers.

Well… huh. Color me offended. Deeply. Top to bottom, and from outside to in. Making distinctions about the size of a blog’s readership or its Alexa ranking never occurred to me. What’s important in this game of getting your name out is exactly that — getting your name out.

Maybe it’s because of the way my own books — yes, there are two of them now! — came about. The Demo Tapes were never meant to be collected into book form. They were never meant to be the subject of guest blogs. I’d never imagined standing at book fairs with my two slim volumes displayed on a black crushed velvet cloth, telling actual people, in a face-to-face method, about my books.

Nope. The short fiction in The Demo Tapes was meant to do one thing and one thing only: build my audience and the demand for my novel, Trevor’s Song. I figured that if I got my readers as hooked on Trevor and Mitchell as I am, they’d build up buzz. Eventually, the buzz would reach the right ears and the novel would come out.

A famous rabbi once said that a revolution begins with a single person. And then another. And then another.

That’s how my Trevolution began. That’s why I call it the Trevolution. My readers rallied. They wanted the story of Mitchell and Trevor from the beginning. On a timeline. They wanted to watch the boys grow up, grow into themselves, become rock stars. One piece of short fiction at a time. One reader at a time, they called for The Demo Tapes to be born.

To a person, those demanding readers of mine who blog have blogs this other author is dismissing as not being big enough for her. Some of my readers and fans aren’t even bloggers. But they are people who pick up books. People like you, who’re reading right now. It doesn’t matter if there are ten of you or ten million of you. What matters is that you catch my passion for my fiction. That you decide to share it.

As the shock and horror of this author’s snobbery goes away, it’s replaced by sadness. I wouldn’t trade you guys even for a spot on Oprah and all the copies that inevitably sells. I’ll stay a small potatoes author any day, if it means staying close to the people who’ve inspired not just one book, but two.

Best of all, more’s on the way. If you haven’t joined the Trevolution, now’s the time to do it. There’s no right or wrong place to get started; just dive on in. The water’s fine, the rock and roll is loud and thunderous, the men are hot (so’re the women, for any of you who lean that way).

And behind it all is an author who appreciates each and every one of you.

Thanks Susan for stopping by the blog today!

Now for the giveaway details:

1. Leave a comment on this post about whether you’ve read Susan’s first book and what you thought.

2. Leave a comment about why you want to read The Demo Tapes Year 2.

3. Blog, tweet, or Facebook this post and receive an extra entry.

Deadline is October 9, 2009 at 11:59 Pm EST


Susan Helene Gottfried Speaks About Music, Obsession, and Writing

Susan Helene Gottfried, our good blogger friend, mind behind West of Mars, and author of Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes Year 1, was kind enough to grant me an interview about her time at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

Where is this interview you ask?! It’s on my D.C. Literature Examiner here and here. Check out, leave some comments. I’m sure Susan will be by to check out your thoughts.

If you haven’t read Shapeshifter yet, you should get your hands on a copy of this bird’s eye view of the rock and roll universe.

***In Other News***

I updated my Book Review Policy and added a note to my readers.

Susan Helene Gottfried Reveals her Past and Inspiration

Susan Helene Gottfried, our good blogger friend, mind behind West of Mars, and author of Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes Year 1, was kind enough to grant me an interview about her time at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.

If you haven’t read Shapeshifter yet, you should get your hands on a copy of this bird’s eye view of the rock and roll universe.

Where is this interview you ask?! It’s on my D.C. Literature Examiner page. Check out, leave some comments. I’m sure Susan will be by to check out your thoughts.

Still not convinced you should read Shapeshifter, check out these reviews from Diary of an Eccentric and She Is too Fond of Books.

***In Other News***

I updated my Book Review Policy and added a note to my readers.