Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lilly Belle, Part One

Finally, after nearly seven months, we have a new foster dog.

She's pretty much a goofball, even though at 6-7 years old she's officially a "senior dog" (too bad PetsMart doesn't give discounts for senior pets).

I discovered that her idea of Fetch consists of bringing a ball back, dropping it, then picking it up again the moment you reach for it.

Psych!! she says. Ha ha! Bitch.

So I invented Perpetual Motion Fetch, which means that when she returns with Ball #1, I'm holding Ball #2, which I don't throw until she drops Ball #1 at my feet, then sits her butt on the grass (or the snow, in rare cases).

It's like juggling, but with a dog playing the role of gravity. Here's a silent movie to demonstrate.

Other than that tiny streak of brattiness independence, she's wonderful. Meadow's a little disappointed that she doesn't want to romp, but at Meadow's age (6) and with her medical history (herniated disc '04) she's better off hanging up her wrestling duds and being content with leaving non-greyhound Lilly Belle in the proverbial dust.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Break time!

I'm taking an internet hiatus for the next ten days to two weeks to finish revisions on Voice of Crow. This book has been kicking my butt since Word One. It's time to start kicking it back.

In an entirely non-hostile manner, of course.

If I'm smart (and sane), I'll follow my own advice from a year ago.

See you after the Super Bowl! I mean, after my deadline.


Featured author

This week I'm the featured author on novelist Candice Gilman's blog. Check it out--she's got a weekly Useless Movie Knowledge quiz with prizes and everything. Thanks, Candice!


Friday, January 19, 2007

Oh to be down under

As Comet McNaught approached the sun last week, it was visible even during the day. Now it's a breathtaking spectacle for the southern hemisphere. Here's a shot of it at twilight over Auckland, NZ:

Photo Credit: Jamie Newman, Auckland New Zealand

The tail has curved enough that it can be seen just after sunset in the northern hemisphere in places like Colorado and California.

For more beauteous pics, visit's Comet McNaught Photo Gallery.

This has nothing to do with writing. It's just freakin' cool.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

RT Reviewers Choice award

According to SF author Elizabeth Bear's blog (scroll down past "Progress notes"), Eyes of Crow has been nominated for a Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice award for Best Fantasy. It's a pretty big deal, as I recall from years past.

Here are all the nominees in that category:

Dawn of Empire. Sam Barone
Sebastien, Anne Bishop
Armageddon's Children, Terry Brooks
Beguilement, Lois McMaster Bujold
His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik
Eyes of Crow, Jeri Smith-Ready
Wolf Who Rules, Wen Spencer

Nice company, eh? I don't stand a chance of winning against the likes of these folks, but it's sweet to get the recognition. I haven't found confirmation of this on the RT website yet, and I'm not sure how one goes from being a nominee to a Big Fat Winnah*, but I'll let you know.

Click on the link above to see the nominees for the other spec fiction categories.

UPDATE: Here's the link for all the RT Reviewers Choice nominees.

*Worse, I don't know if Reviewers Choice should have an apostrophe before or after the 's' or none at all. I'd hate to get Bob the Angry Flower on my case.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Purple pain perspective

Well, that was disappointing, not only for Ravens fans but for football watchers across the country who were looking forward to a colossal clash of titans. Or football watchers who like to see, you know, touchdowns.

It wasn't so much Spiderman vs. Superboy as it was Mr. Furious vs. The Shoveller (the Shoveller won).

A lot of people (especially Yankee fans) believe that a team's regular season success is rendered meaningless by a poor playoff performance. Maybe that's true if you start the season with high expectations. But no one picked the Ravens to have a winning season, much less win a team-record 13 games and the AFC North division. No one expected them to crush the Super Bowl Champions twice and neutralize star running backs like Larry Johnson or MVP LaDainian Tomlinson.

It's been a great year, largely thanks to quarterback Steve McNair, who made three last-minute comebacks to win games, and coach Brian Billick, who took over calling offensive plays mid-season. Without McNair and Billick the Ravens wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the playoffs, much less capture a team-high second seed.

They couldn't pull it off against the Colts. But for seventeen weeks we looked forward to Sundays. Not every team's fans can say that. Heck, we couldn't say that last year (though some of us stuck with them every minute of that godawful season). For seventeen weeks we had fun, and even the most dismal playoff loss can't take that experience away from us.

Yeah, I might be in denial. The numbness feels nice.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

A date with destiny

I want nothing good to happen to that team. Ever.
--writer/director Barry Levinson, on the Indianapolis Colts

Do you know what it's like to hate,
when it's way down deep inside?
--"Promise," Violent Femmes

Remember that bastard/bitch who broke your heart in high school or college, and how happy you were to find out at your class reunion that they'd grown up fat and unemployed?

That's how we in Baltimore feel about the Indianapolis Colts. Year after year we watch them play splendid seasons, led by the ever-lovable, sitcom-bound Peyton Manning, only to falter in the playoffs. Even when they lost to our archrival Pittsburgh Steelers last year, we rejoiced, for it meant the Colts yet labored under the manifestation of divine justice known as the Mayflower Curse.*

Today the sword of karmic retribution will be wielded by none other than our own Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are the hunky, successful Mr. Right we grew up to marry, bringing home a Super Bowl championship only five years after they swept us off our feet. But it still hurts to be ditched, even by a loser.

Today the league's best offense fights the #1 defense. It's like one of those theoretical superhero matchups.**

It's the most important game in the history of Ever.

And now, because it'll feel good, I give a nod to Alfred Hitchcock and profuse thanks to an anonymous PhotoShopper, in presenting (WARNING--graphic graphic):


starring Peyton Manning in the role immortalized by Tippi Hedrin.

Bring on the Purple Pain.

*My own term, named after the van lines they used to cut out of town before dawn on March 28, 1984.

**Spiderman vs. Superboy seems most appropriate.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Blogger's block

It happens every once in awhile, usually while the real writing is going quite well.

I can't think of anything to blog about. Oh, sure, there are the trivial matters that grab my attention, like the fact that Mary Worth is going to 'Nam, or that the label of the Snow Cone Hot Chocolate Mix for Two clearly depicts a snowman suicide pact, or that the Ravens are playing their arch-nemeses the Baltimore Indianapolis Colts in a playoff game on Saturday that has left everyone in this town groping for the Valium. But none of that is worth discussing on a focused, professional blog such as this one.

I'm finishing the rewrites of my young adult fantasy (the novel previously known as Angel's Gambit). I just threw an old lady down a flight of stairs.* Life is good.

Later this week I'll begin the long-awaited revision of Voice of Crow, due at the end of this month. Like most writers, I have to balance my time between the books I'm already contracted for and the books I hope to sell. The plan is to continue submitting one new series proposal each year until I'm fully contracted. My definition of "fully contracted" means:

a) more than one book per year for the next three years, AND/OR
b) having enough work to make my head almost but not quite explode

How's your year been so far? Discuss.

*Relax! It was a homicidal maniac old lady, and she only broke a hip, leaving her able to get all homicidally maniacal in a later book (at which point she can be thrown off a bridge or into an active volcano).


Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 Goals

1. Write first draft of Wings of Crow (non-negotiable, since it's under contract)
2. Rewrite Bad Company and write detailed synopsis of Bad to the Bone (ditto)
3. Submit young adult fantasy (Book 1 and trilogy synopsis) to prospective editors before Memorial Day
4. Read 50 books
5. Design and build website and blog for BC's release
6. Take a vacation with just my husband
7. Make marketing budget and actually keep to it
8. Finish Animal of the Month pages during the first half of the month
9. Make my MySpace page kick ass (or at least decrease its suckage)
10. Spend one day a week on marketing/promotion and reserve the other six days for writing
11. Begin proposal for new novel/series to submit in '08
12. Fix screenplay ending and begin submitting it again
13. Attend 5 conferences/conventions/book festivals
14. Sign stock at 100 bookstores
15. Do 10 non-conference appearances (signings, talks)
16. Foster 5 dogs (not all at the same time)
17. Enjoy the ride

That's mine. What are your goals? Do they make you stretch? Do they have measurable outcomes? Do they involve chocolate?*

I'm especially excited about #10 above. Promotional tasks have distracted me from writing, and conversely, I've made my writing deadlines too tight to afford time for promotion when it really counted (i.e., last October). It's all part of the learning curve, and this year I'll do better.

Happy New Year!

*"Eat more chocolate" definitely has a measurable outcome.

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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**


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Jeri Smith-Ready

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

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