Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest post: Susan Helene Gottfried

My guest today needs no introduction - she is the much appreciated and adored-ever-so-funny-terrific lady from West of Mars. Yep, truly, she is here for a visit! You might know her as Susan of Win- a- book. Susan doesn't just do all of us bloggers a great service, she is also a blog owner, an author and a wonderful friend to all. Today, she would like to share several of her passions with you.  Ta da!

Heeeeere's Susan!

by Susan Helene Gottfried

I need to thank Kaye and her flightless bird friends for hosting me today. Being from the city of Pittsburgh, I am a fan of penguins. I'm especially fond of the young male Penguins who pull on the city's black and gold, who tie metal blades to their feet, and who take to a specially maintained sheet of ice.

Yep, pro hockey. I could talk hockey all day long, but this is a book blog. And I am more than a hockey lover -- I am an author, as well. In fact, being an author might be a more defining trait than being a hockey lover.

I'm one other important thing, as well. I'm a music lover.

I often tell people my love affair with music began in the 1980s, with the music of the times -- and, in particular, hair metal. But the truth is that my love affair began way longer, back in the days of Donny and Marie and my dad's Carpenters records. It began when my sister would practice her flute and piccolo for hours on end and I'd be dragged to band concert after orchestra concert after band concert to hear her.

Clearly, that explains my adult love for Apocalyptica, the Finnish quartet who made their mark by converting Metallica to the cello. It explains why I'm every bit as comfortable in a fancy theater, home to the Pittsburgh Symphony, as I am in a dark bar, dressed in my jeans and trying to avoid having beer spilled down the front of my shirt by some drunken jerk I've never seen before -- and hope I'll never have to again, either.

So how did a girl raised on such benign music fall in love with what used to be heavy metal, and is now called hard rock?

I have no idea. But it happened. And when it did, I found I needed to write about it and share my passion with the world.

The ShapeShifter project -- The two Demo Tapes anthologies and Trevor's Song -- wasn't the first time I wrote about a rock band. The first time was when I was an undergraduate. I created an 80s hair band. Go figure; it WAS the 80s. The second time wasn't long after I chucked that first one under a bed. That one featured a Bay Area thrash band.

It went under the bed, too. Both books are staying there, believe me.

But my fondness for the music remains. In fact, my passion hasn't dimmed. It's grown. Just as music was an almost-constant background when I was growing up, I am almost always surrounded by music. Satellite radio in my car and when I am at my desk. Pandora coming from the laptop. And my beloved iPod for my workouts, for background music to the kids' soccer games, and anytime I need to slap my headphones on and escape into a safe, warm, cozy place.

If a place built on heavy metal and/or hard rock can be warm, safe, and cozy.

To me, though, it is. And that's what I hope to convey when I write about musicians and guitarists and bass players with attitudes I only wish I had the guts to let show. It's what I hope you'll take away when you finish reading one of my books, and what I hope you'll pass on to your friends when you rave about them.

Rock on, my friends. And as you do so, why not pick up a book or two of mine? During November and December, I'm donating at least half of my royalties to charity -- a charity that provides new and refurbished musical instruments to kids in schools that otherwise couldn't afford them. Books make great gifts for the holidays, you know. Why not help kids have great musical experiences? One day, they might be in this very space, paying it forward, themselves.

Check out the full details on my contest page:

or go to the Books page for details on how to get your hands on a print or e-book copy of my three books:

Also, feel free to hang with me and the band as the Musical Hanukkah Celebration takes shape this year. It'll give context to your donation and let you be part of the bigger party, as well.

A big thank you to Susan for this great guest post. If you can help Susan and her wonderful cause in any way, I'm sure she will be very appreciative. To some talented kids without the financial resources, this charitable effort goes a long way to bringing dreams to life.


  1. Thank you for a nice interview.

  2. Thanks again, Kaye. And if I can do another plug, Demo Tapes 2 just went live at the Kindle store yesterday.

    Lots to celebrate this holiday season. So c'mon folks. Join me in making more band (and orchestra) geeks, will ya?

  3. Btw, I LOVE the shirtless Penguin. I'd like to cuddle with him awhile...

  4. Really enjoyed the guest post! I think Susan has taken up a great cause.

  5. Fun interview!! What a great cause too!!

  6. Ah ha! So you're the Susan! Lovely to know you and congratulations on a great interview post. I do admire you for your cause, and it's got my mind thinking...
    I get my Kindle tomorrow so I think your book might be the first on it!

  7. Great post Kaye and Susan! It's so great to learn more about you and your interests. (80s hair bands - awesome!) You've always been so kind when I've needed to post contests too (which I need to do right now...) and it's nice to get to know the person behind the blog. Best of luck!


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