Susan Helene Gottfried


Susan Helene Gottfried is the heavy-metal-loving, not-disabled enough divorced Jewish mother of two. A freelance line editor to authors of fiction by day, her select roster of clients tend to hit bestseller lists, and more than a few have quit their day jobs. It’s not entirely her doing, but like does attract like.

Tales from the Sheep Farm is her offer to her fellow diverse authors to create a world in which all are welcome. Come dream and build it with her.

Susan holds a BA (University of Pittsburgh) and MFA (Bowling Green State University) in English Writing and Fiction, respectively.

She lives with a couple cats in the Pittsburgh suburbs, just West of Mars. Visit her at and

Where to find Susan Helene Gottfried online

Where to buy in print


ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes--Year 4
Series: The Trevolution, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,740. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Trevor Wolff is back, bringing with him an expanded cast of characters in this new addition to the beloved Demo Tapes series.
King Trevor
Series: The Trevolution, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 77,730. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
When Mitchell hatches a plan to turn Trevor into the official King of ShapeShifter, it sounds to Trevor like bunk. However, the Big Idiot hires the best architect around—the brother-in-law he’s never met. Trevor can’t help but smell secrets that awaken the person he used to be. After all, there’s nothing Trevor Wolff likes more than intrigue -- except a chance to square off against Kerri.
ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes: Year 3
Series: The Trevolution, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 22,440. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
The popular Demo Tapes series continues with The Demo Tapes: Year 3. There's more Mitchell, more Kerri, and more of what you love the most: The Indomitable Trevor Wolff. Viva la Trevolution!
Trevor's Song
Series: The Trevolution, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 81,130. Language: English. Published: July 8, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.36 from 11 reviews)
Fame and fortune have destroyed many a rock star, but not Trevor Wolff. ShapeShifter band dynamics will never be the same even before Trevor's two girlfriends, a world tour, and a bunch of secrets complicate life. Trevor may have to make common cause with his worst enemy -- his best friend's girl.
ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes (Year 2)
Series: The Trevolution, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,720. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
The Demo Tapes: Year 1 introduced the reading public to ShapeShifter and the two men behind this fictional band: Trevor Wolff and Mitchell Voss. The Demo Tapes: Year 2 brings you more of the short fiction that brings these people to vivid life. Year 2 delves more deeply into love, friendships, and the inside workings of ShapeShifter. Vive la Trevolution!
ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes: Year 1
Series: The Trevolution, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 19,180. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
(4.50 from 4 reviews)
A band's demo tape is intended to introduce listeners to their music. Likewise, this collection of short pieces allows readers into the fictional world of Trevor Wolff and his band, ShapeShifter. From the day Trevor and Mitchell meet to the pinnacle of success, these loosely linked stories will let you hang with a rock band. Vive la Trevolution!

Smashwords book reviews by Susan Helene Gottfried

  • Enemies and Playmates on March 16, 2011

    There's always that moment when you first sit down with a friend's book. That moment when you're afraid you'll wish you hadn't risked your friendship over a book, which your friend was kind enough to give you. I shouldn't have worried. Darcia Helle's as awesome a writer as she is a person. Which is to say Enemies and Playmates was one of the most wickedly fun cat-and-mouse tales I've come across in a long time. Alex Covington is a phenomenally well-drawn jerk, his wife Kara is a tragedy, son Stephen is an even bigger heartbreaker who colors the whole book. And then there's daughter Lauren, our heroine. She actually turns out to be a secondary character, as the heart of this story is Lauren's man, Jesse, and the way he goes up against Lauren's dad. This is where it's at for me, and not once was I let down. Jesse and Alex engage in some of the most delicious -- and dangerous -- play I've read in eons. Really, the romance between Jesse and Lauren is secondary, even though it is pivotal to the way in which Lauren's character grows and changes. No, it's not perfect. Dialogue is stilted in spots, and the subplot with Lauren's friend stretches believeability -- but at the same time, it makes the important point that no matter how well you think you know someone, no matter how best your best friend is, surprises can (and do) lurk around every corner. For a woman like Lauren, it's a good reminder of what a louse her father is, why she needs to get away -- and the steps her father will take to make sure she can't. I don't want to say too much. Go read it for yourself. Have some fun with it. Enemies and Playmates. A definite West of Mars Recommended read. (4.5 stars)
  • Ladies and Gentlemen...The Redeemers on July 03, 2011

    I'd been hearing about this Michael Scott Miller dude and his book, Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers for awhile now. My friend, author Darcia Helle, told me she thought I needed to read it. How could I say no? Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers is a heck of a tale. It's the story of down-on-his-luck Bert, who decides to take a bunch of misfits and miscreants and turn them into the band that'll end his down-on-his-luck days. And theirs. Most bands form because they are drawn together by something intangible. They have chemistry, a shared hunger for success... something. Not the Redeemers. They are drawn together because of Bert and the strength of his ambition to reclaim a part of himself. Whether or not they'll first find all the people they need to fill out the band properly, if they'll gel as a group, if they'll overcome their natural distrust and, sometimes, dislike of each other... this is what the story is about. It's a great story. It's one anyone who loves to dream needs to spend time with. But, of course, this is Susan West of Mars doing a review here, and that automatically means there are faults to be found with this book. Not many, I'm pleased to say. And in this case, I suspect the fault I found with the Redeemers is one of style. You see, for me, there is a narrative distance. This means I don't get into the characters' heads, they don't come fully alive. In this book, it drove me nuts. I wanted to really get inside these guys. I wanted to share their thoughts and dreams and desires. I wanted to look to my left and be surprised they weren't real people, right there beside me. To be honest, I have no idea how Miller could have pulled this off. He's got a huge cast of characters; this point of view was the most logical choice he could have made for telling this particular story. Anything else would have run the risk of turning the book into an absolute mess. Still, I wanted more of the guys. They are compelling. They have great backstories. They have a great storyline. They probably have a great future, but let's not get ahead of the book here, folks. Although... with a story like this, it is tempting to do. When I review a piece of rock and roll fiction, I always consider if the page breathes with music. In The Redeemers, it doesn't. It also doesn't need to. This is a book about the personalities behind the music. It's about this band named the Redeemers who are off looking for their own redemption, either personally or musically. These aren't necessarily people who live and breathe music. On the other hand, they are people for whom music is an expression and, in some cases, a way of life. In other cases, it's a dream, something to stretch for and be terrified of. That is every bit as valid as having the music throb off the page. Overall, I liked this book. A lot. I'll tell people to read it. I may even hold it up there with some of my top reads although, truthfully, I don't think the (good) execution held up to the (fantastic) concept. It was a hard goal to achieve. Miller did his best, and his best is quite good. I wanted fantastic. I think Miller can and will bring us there in future books. I can't wait to follow him.
  • Voice on Dec. 30, 2012

    It's been so long now that I can't even remember how I came to pick up a copy of Joseph Garraty's Voice. I can see that I got it at Smashwords, where it was listed as free as of the night I finished the book and sat down to write this rave. And rave I must. I simply adored this story of a man who sells … well, maybe not his soul and maybe not to the devil, but that's only the first of many riffs on the classic cliché. John does go down to the crossroads, but the trade he makes is great, unexpected fun that gives a clever nod to current—okay, maybe by this point, a bit passé—trends in literature. Saying more would spoil the read, and I have no intentions of spoiling anything. This is a book to share, not ruin. As John's bargain pays off both in a set of golden pipes and a decline as a man, his guitar player, the harsh, abrasive Case, is molting her own skin—in the opposite direction. Case learns how to be a friend, to take a chance, to allow herself to care. As John loses his humanity, Case finds hers. While some may point to John and his alter ego Johnny as the heartbeat of the story, for me it was Case. I related to her. Don't forget, though, the other two members of the band: Quentin and Danny. Quentin's the conscience around here, and, of course, whenever evil's afoot, the conscience must pay. The way in which this happens is a bit … unorthodox, shall we say. Danny, though, flirts with the dark side. There's betrayal, and a steep price for him, also. Too bad; Danny and Quentin both are likeable. So, too, is Erin, Case's friend who becomes the band's one-woman PR maestro. She's maybe too good to be true, but she's also smart enough to make the hard but brave decisions. As Ragman puts all these elements together—John's new voice, the small hurricane that is Case on guitars, and Erin packing the clubs—and success follows, each of the five must figure out what price they are willing to pay for it all. They're paying all right, and it's a bill that comes due long before many of the clichéd Rock Fiction works would have you believe: not when they are headliners, but when they are paying their dues on the way up. That's how it usually works, after all, and Garraty shows it to us. Maybe it's a bit exaggerated. But then again, is it? A definite West of Mars Recommended Read.
  • Trick of the Light on July 02, 2018

    Thoughtful, if a bit twisted and maybe even subversive, story that lingered with me for days. Having also been inspired by a mannequin, I found CA's take on the subject fascinating and captivating. Not to mention beautifully written.