Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The (quarter) million word march

The other day I calculated that I've written 222, 000 words this year--by far my most productive year ever. Yay! These are all first-draft words, not revisions, although I do count significant additions to later drafts (such as the three poker scenes added to Bad Company in the second draft).

The breakdown:

Voice of Crow: 113K
Bad Company: the final 68K (begun in 2005)
Angel's Gambit Book One: the final 26K (begun in '03, continued in '04)
"The Wild's Call": 15K

Which leaves 28K to hit the quarter-million word mark by the end of the year. This normally wouldn't be a problem (I usually about 2K/day when I'm in full first-draft mode), except that I'll have revisions to Voice of Crow (which don't count toward the total, remember, unless I add scenes) and will probably only include one chapter in my Wings of Crow proposal.

But I will make the 250K mark, even if it means cranking out the first 100 pages of Wings of Crow or Angel's Gambit Book Two in the last week of December.

It's good to have goals, however random. Anyone else have end-of-the-year goals or unfinished New Year's 2006 resolutions?

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New appearance scheduled

I'll be doing a short presentation and signing books a week from Sunday at Philadelphia Ink, a group author event at Robin's Bookstore, an indie bookseller located at 108 South 13th Street in Philly.

There'll be about 20 authors taking part, as well as a book fair, and (most importantly) refreshments!

Hope to see you December 10 at 2PM. Did I mention the refreshments?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Ravens Recap

Ravens 35, Saints 22
Ravens 26, Bengals 20
Ravens 27, Titans 26
Ravens 24, Falcons 10
Ravens 27, Steelers 0

Yeah, I think Brian Billick taking over as offensive coordinator might have been a good move.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

A quick note

I thought I had to upgrade to the new version of Blogger and didn't want to do so while I was away from home in case it messed up my template. That's why I haven't posted since Wednesday.

Turns out I was wrong, so here's a slew of brief back-dated Thanksgiving weekend posts. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Winchester booksigning

Great googly moogly. We sold 47 out of 60 books. To give some context, the average number of books sold at a typical signing is 5-10.



They did a superb job in promoting the event (yes, I saved the poster, but no, I didn't hang it up in my house). There was an article in the Winchester Star appearing in the Thanksgiving Day edition, which always sells out due to people's hunger for Black Friday sales flyers.

Check it out--I'm on an endcap with Gregory Maguire! (bows, forehead to ground) I'm not worthy...



The staff was incredible beyond belief--enthusiastic, friendly, knowledgeable, and full of energy, even after what had to be a hellish Black Friday.



Pictured are, left to right, Mike, Mandy, Erin, and Tom (the Community Relations Manager) who masterminded the whole signing). Along with Rebecca, Katrina, Geoff, Jonathan, Eric, Melissa, and Kathy, they made me feel right at home.

I have to give a special thanks to my husband Chris, who handed out bookmarks and flyers and told everyone about the local author signing her first book. He's responsible for at least half the sales. MMMWAH!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Animal of the Month

At last! Just in time for November to end, I've posted the first edition of Animal of the Month.

November's Animal is the Crow. For those of you who have taken the Find Your Spirit Animal quiz and gotten Crow as a result (and have e-mailed me to that effect), you'll be entered into the first drawing, scheduled for Thursday, November 30. The prize this month is a stained glass crow ornament.

Next month's Animal is the Wolf. I promise to have the new page up before Christmas.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Has anyone seen my marbles?

Clearly I've lost them, because I plan to be at the mall tomorrow at six a.m. Me, the woman who never EVER leaves the house on Black Friday.

It's work-related, though. I want to sign stock at the Waldenbooks so the books can be on display and sell, sell, sell!

It should feel insane, but I'm too full of food to care. Sigh...a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

RT been berry berry good to me

The December issue of Romantic Times (on newsstands through the end of next week) has featured me as one of seven "rising stars" of fiction.

In an article entitled "Hot Commodities," reviewer Gail Pruszkowski (my new Favorite Person in the World) says,
Eyes of Crow, the first of her new trilogy, was an entertaining epic fantasy with unforgettable characters. She's a phenomenal writer with a great voice. I can't wait till the next book comes out.

In the November issue of RT, Eyes of Crow received 4.5 stars (out of 4.5--why they no longer give 5-star reviews is a long story) and a "Top Pick" designation, the only one in its category for that month. The full review is now available on their site.

Yeah, I said a long time ago I wouldn't turn this blog into a bragfest, but EOC hasn't gotten many reviews yet, and this is a biggie. In my world, at least.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Podcast Interview


This week's Balticon Podcast features an interview with yours truly. I discuss the concepts and ideas behind Eyes of Crow, as well as the sordid history of Requiem for the Devil. I mostly fail to embarrass myself. Whew!

This is one of the best-produced podcasts I've ever heard. They gave the show a joint theme of "strong, independent women" and "crows," which they even incorporated in the introduction.

Other features of this episode:
  • J.R. Blackwell's Rules for Talking to Girls at SF Conventions*
  • a really cool song called "Scared" by Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe
You don't need an iPod to listen to a podcast. I repeat,

you don't need an iPod to listen to a podcast


Just click on "Download This Episode," and the .mp3 file will load and play on any computer.

Thanks to host Paul Fischer for doing the interview and for putting together such a great show.

Enjoy!

*My favorite: "Don't tell her she's an idiot for not knowing all the cheat codes to a video game, or that Han really did shoot first."

P.S.: Here's Chapter Seven of "The Wild's Call."

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Booksigning pics

Here I am last Saturday at the Borders Express in Springfield, PA, with enough books to bathe in:



I was a little nervous when I saw how many had been ordered, wondering how I was ever going to sell them all.

I sold about half, with a little (okay, a lot of) help from my friends and family. Several total strangers bought it, so it wasn't all nepotism. The rest I autographed and left behind with the fantastic booksellers, pictured here:



Left to right, they are: Keri (the manager), Maureen, and Jenn. Along with staffers Ashley and Buck, they were all incredibly supportive, enthusiastic, and helpful. I can't imagine how they could have made my first signing any better.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Booksigning tomorrow

Bart: We're young, rich, and full of sugar. What do we do?
Milhouse: Let's go crazy, Broadway style!
Both (singing):
Springfield, Springfield
It's a hell of a town
The schoolyard's up and the shopping mall's down.
The stray dogs go to the animal pound.
Bart: Springfield, Springfield!
Millhouse: Springfield, Springfield!
Sailor: New York, New York!
Bart: New York is that-a-way, man.
Sailor: Thanks, kid!
Both: (singing)
It's a hell of a...tooown!
--The Simpsons

My first solo signing is tomorrow, November 18, from noon to 2PM, at the Border's Express in Springfield, PA (in the good ol' Springfield Mall). I'm really looking forward to it, as the manager is incredibly enthusiastic and supportive.

Hope to see you there! If you can't make it, then wish me luck.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

A good day for critters

Last week's elections, on a national level, were seen as a referendum on the war in Iraq and corruption in Congress (voters don't like either--go figure). But one incumbent Congressman lost for an entirely different reason.

California Representative Richard Pombo, chair of the House Resources Committee, tried to gut the Endangered Species Act last year with legislation that passed the House but was blocked in the Senate (by Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee).

As Sunday's Baltimore Sun reported, the Pombo bill would have:
• Required the interior secretary to add species "only sparingly" and to prepare an analysis of the economic, national security, and "other relevant impacts" of the decision.

• Repealed the secretary's authority to set aside critical habitats.

• Required the secretary to compensate landowners for costs associated with complying with ESA conservation measures.

In other words, make it harder to protect endangered species.

Pombo also introduced legislation to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil exploration. While some Republicans may love puppies*, the more conservative among them appear to have little affection for wildlife.

On November 8, the earth breathed a deep sigh of relief. Foxes frisked! Caribou cavorted! Geckos gamboled! Because the new chair of the House Resources Committee is Nick Rahall of West Virginia, whom the Defenders of Wildlife call a "Wildlife Hero."

Barbara Boxer is the new Senate Environment Chair, taking over from the maniacal James Inhofe, who once called global warming "the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people."

And in a sweep of karmic justice, Richard Pombo's own political career became extinct on Election Day.


*and are loved right back!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm somebody!

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!
Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.
Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.
--The Jerk (1979)


A dream just came true.

I received my Lunch Weekly Deluxe, the "deals" report that Publisher's Marketplace sends out every Sunday. Every Monday morning I read it and wash down the bile of envy with a cup of coffee, thinking, someday I'll be in it, hopefully before I'm too old to read the itty-bitty typeface.

This week I'm actually in it! My deal is at the top of the Science Fiction/Fantasy section:

EYES OF CROW author Jeri Smith Ready's BAD COMPANY, about a cadre of vampire DJs and the con artist trying to save their "lives," to Jennifer Heddle at Pocket...in a two-book deal, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown (NA).


"NA" means North American rights, which means my agent can sell the foreign rights separately (which is a good thing). Not that Canada isn't a foreign country, but generally when agents speak of "foreign" rights, they mean to non-North American countries.

And the "..." is the part where it says how much they're paying me. Because that's a secret known only to me, my agent, and the thousands of people who buy a $20/month subscription to Publisher's Lunch.


---

Last day to Vote for Meadow!

And check out Chapter Three of "The Wild's Call."

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The long-awaited lull

As you can tell from the sidebar, I'm working on* the proposal for the Aspect of Crow Book 3, Wings of Crow, which means I finally handed in Voice of Crow to my editor, only two days past deadline (which, everyone assures me, does not count as "late").

Then there was World Fantasy Con. Then there was Election Day(s). Then there was the Book Fair. And now...

The lull. The sweet, sweet lull, in which I might actually clean a sink or two. I have a To-Do List that measures in feet, not inches.

Lots of little tasks, such as getting ready for two booksignings and trying to set up several more. Such as sending thank-you gifts to various departments of my publisher to show my appreciation for all their hard work. Such as, oh, heck, why not--reading a book or two.

But I welcome the long To-Do list, because for the entire month of October, it was very short:

1. Finish book
2. Finish website

The lull ends tomorrow, when I start putting the Wings of Crow proposal on paper. It's due December 15, which gives me a month. I might even try that First Draft in 30 Days method again.

Now about those sinks...

*"working on" = tossing around ideas in my head until something feels right

P.S.: Look! It's Chapter Two of "The Wild's Call"

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Monday, November 13, 2006

The wild is calling

My serial short story, "The Wild's Call," has begun! Read Chapter One.

Enjoy!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Vote for Meadow!

Election Day may be over, but there's one more vote to cast.

My dog Meadow is running for Cutest Greyhound in the Metropolitan Washington Area:




Based on the picture, you'd think her victory a lock, but she's up against some hardcore Washington insiders. Meadow won't kowtow to the special interests--she's a real dog of the people.

Voting continues through Wednesday, November 15. So cast your ballot today--it costs nothing but a minute of your time.

Together, we can build a better future for America and make a little girl's dream come true. And win me some sort of prize.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Random House Book Fair

Tomorrow I'll be signing books at the Random House Book Fair, located at the Carroll Community College (1601 Washington Road in Westminster, MD) from 9:30-4 (or, more realistically, 9:30-2, at which point I'll have to go home and let the dog out).

Featured authors include NYT Bestselling author of The Templar Legacy, Steve Berry; children's book authors Jennifer Holm and Matt Holm; and Chris Bohjalian, author of the Oprah pick Midwives.

Copies of Eyes of Crow will be on sale at the Fair, the proceeds of which will benefit student scholarships at Carroll Community College Foundation.

If you're in the area, stop by and say hi!

UPDATE 11/12: It was awesome. I sold out of my books, which is good. But bad, because I could've sold more. The most amazing part was when someone came up and said she'd already read the book and loved it. It was like being a real author!

Best of all, the Book Fair gave the authors a fantastic lunch courtesy of Paradiso Italian Restaurant, one of our favorites. I think they were a little shocked at how much we ate. They should know never to stand between writers and free food.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big fat announcement

No more teasing. It's official!

Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, has bought my vampire novel, Bad Company, and its sequel, Bad to the Bone. Pocket is starting a new focus on urban fantasy, and BC will be one of the introductory books.

Me. Thrilled. Beyond. Words.

Never was a book so much fun to write as Bad Company, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to dive back into that crazy world.

What's it about? Here, I'll let the (obviously very effective) cover letter tell you:

>>
In her first legitimate job, former con artist Ciara Griffin hopes to redeem herself by saving her small-town radio station from corporate takeover. Known for its eccentric disc jockeys--40s blues, 80s punk, 90s grunge, etc.--WMMP needs a new marketing strategy, or it will be bought by Skywave, a soulless communications behemoth that will fire those DJs and turn the station into something mainstream, derivative, and boring.

But the DJs are not quite what they appear. They're vampires, each stuck musically and psychologically in the era in which they were changed. The station has become their home--without it, they would “fade,” like most old vampires: growing slowly insane as fossils of another time, vulnerable in a world unaware of their existence.

Though daunted by their bloody diets and bizarre idiosyncrasies, Ciara keeps her new job, since she’s determined to live the straight life, not to mention hopelessly attracted to 90s grunge DJ Shane McAllister.

She comes up with a brilliant marketing plan: “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” She hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, playing up their musical authenticity and capitalizing on the public’s lust for these “fictional” monsters. Unfortunately, the campaign also catches the attention of crooks, secret agents, and vampire anarchists.

Ciara’s toughest--and most darkly irresistible--obstacle turns out to be Shane himself. He doubts her honesty and motives, even as her free-spirited manner brings the light and laughter he craves. These two natural predators must learn to trust each other if the station--and their relationship--can survive.
>>

Estimated publication date is early 2008. Should be tons of fun.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

First we take Manhattan...

My sister-in-law was visiting the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center in New York City yesterday and found my book face out on the shelves:




A big thanks to the folks at Barnes & Noble for consistently giving it good placement. Y'all rule.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Atrocious

The Washington Post reports that our governor has bused in people from Pennsylvania homeless shelters to hand out fake sample ballots to voters in Prince George's County. The ballots show Republican Governor Ehrlich and his Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele (who's running for Senator) listed as Democrats. Yeah, they wish.

For $100 and two free meals, the homeless and unemployed also passed out "official Voter Guides" suggesting that three prominent black political leaders (Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson, his predecessor Wayne K. Curry and former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume) were endorsing the Republican ticket. Not true.

Basically, they're trying to trick African Americans into voting Republican.* It doesn't get any lower than this.

Well, except in Virginia. And Colorado.

My head is about to explode.

*Ha! It didn't work.

Vote




"Democracy" by Leonard Cohen (1992)

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on ...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Monday, November 06, 2006

World Fantasy Con update

It's over.

It was great. I managed to attend for an entire day-and-a-half before succumbing to a case of food poisoning/24-hour stomach bug again.

Sigh...

I met lots of cool authors and editors and agents and of course the best people of all: fans. Fans rule, and I'm not saying that just to suck up. There were fewer of them, proportionally, at this con than at others, because World Fantasy Con is predominantly a "professional" convention, where people come to make deals and hobnob and pass around 24-hour stomach viruses.

Sorry, I'm a little bitter about that last one.

Anyway, one new author I met was Sarah Beth Durst, who has a young adult fantasy coming out next summer. I went to her reading, and it sounds fantastic.

Friday I did a reading with three other romantic fantasy/paranormal romance authors, fellow Luna authors Gail Dayton and Robin D. Owens, along with paranormal chick lit author Shanna Swendson. Here are some photos, taken by a very sweet guy named Max Smolev. As I perused the photos, I realized, "Damn, I need a haircut. By someone other than me."

On Saturday I had lunch with my agent*. She loved the first installment of my young adult fantasy series and gave me lots of good feedback on how to fix it so we can submit it the beginning of next year.

Then later my agent and I had drinks with a secret someone I can't tell you about for a few more days. I know, it's cruel to tease, but I have very good news I can't share yet, and what fun is it to have a secret if you can't use it to torture others?

Next year I hope to meet more people. Next year I hope not to go AWOL. Thanks to everyone who came up and talked to me after the reading or at the signing. And special thanks to my friend who bought me a ginger ale and a box of Pepto-Bismol, for making the whole experience a tad less squalid.

*OK, is that kind of an obnoxious, author-braggy thing to say--"I had lunch with my agent"? La dee freakin' da.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

World Fantasy Con

Today I'm off to the World Fantasy Convention, where I'll be doing a reading with three other authors (not simultaneously, I hope, though I do have a voice that carries, so I'd probably do all right) at 3:30 on Friday, as well as taking part in the mass autographing session that night at 8.

Austin, bay-beee!

(Nah, it doesn't quite have the ring of 'Vegas, baby!', but I'm working on it.)

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaNoWriMo

Good luck to all you folks doing the National Novel Writing Month. Wish I could join you, but for me November will be National Novel REwriting Month.

Now stop reading blogs and get writing!

NEW RELEASE!

This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**

More about THIS SIDE OF SALVATION

Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com.

NOW AVAILABLE!

Shattered

"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

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