Nothing comes between this woman and her music.
Not vacuuming office floors. Or answering phones. Or making less than most fast-food clerks.
Put them all under the sacrifices Susie Mudd has made for success.
Since taking over as editor and publisher of Maryland Musician Magazine three years ago, she's turned the fledgling publication into a thriving monthly with national ads, a staff of 30 and a devoted following. She's also expanded the content from strictly heavy metal to a mix including classical, jazz and blues.
"I've put everything I have into this," says Ms. Mudd, 34, whose taste in music ranges from Mozart to Michelle Shocked.
She grew up as your basic teen-age rock music fan, plastering her bedroom walls with Led Zeppelin posters.
After graduating from Mount St. Mary's College and working in radio advertising, she and a partner formed the newspaper to cover the burgeoning music scene in the Mid-Atlantic region. Three years later she bought him out and dedicated herself to improving the free publication, which is distributed to record stores, nightclubs and other spots. Since then she's expanded the national coverage and tripled the circulation.
On the flip side, the paper's tight budget still forces her to clean her own Parkville office, pitch in to sell ads and take home only $400 to $800 a month.
It's not exactly the way she planned things, she says. "I expected to be 35 and have a BMW," she says with a sigh. "But I still have dreams for tomorrow."
When crime and drugs drove friends from the East Baltimore neighborhood of Oliver, Hilton O. Bostick decided to stay.
Sure, he saw the community changing -- the drug dealers moving in, the middle-class families moving out. But instead of retreating, his solution was to become more involved.
Today, as president of the Oliver Community Association, he is fighting, he says, to save the place where he grew up and the 2,600 people who still live there.
"I stayed because the community has become family," says Mr. Bostick, 40, a health educator with Baltimore City. "I stayed because there's a real need for individuals who are fortunate enough to have received a college education to stay in the community as opposed to running out to the county."
With a $95,000 budget from the city, he oversees events such as health fairs, seminars for first-time homeowners and after-school tutoring.
The son of a meat cutter and machine operator, he's spent his entire life living in the same three-story row house. As a youngster, he considered a very different career path when his high school counselor advised him: "Go to work for Bethlehem Steel."
Instead, he went to college, getting undergraduate and graduate degrees from Coppin. He recently began work on his doctorate at Morgan State University.
But it's his volunteer work in Oliver that's changed him most, he says. "I have stopped chasing money," he says. "I'm not concerned about a 50,000- or 75,000-dollar-a-year job. If I can receive some internal reward for helping young people, I feel better."