Friday, November 30, 2007


I just finished and turned in the first draft of The Reawakened. There's no way to describe the complicated mixture of triumph and sorrow and relief I feel. Let's call it triliefow.

The triliefow-ness (triliefow-icity?) is more intense with this book than any before, partly because it's the end of a series, and partly because it was the longest novel I've ever written, coming in around 142K words. If you add in all the crap I cut when I revised two of the storylines, I ended up writing 200K. They don't call it epic fantasy for nuthin'.

But the work on TR has just begun. I will likely tear out at least half of what I've written, rearrange the rest, and add on another 50K words or so. My friend and awesome novelist Maria V. Snyder likens the process of writing a book to building a house, where a first draft involves building the frame and the walls, and the revisions are the remodeling and decorating.

If that's the case, I'd be the most expensive homebuilder in the business. I'd be the one ripping down walls, digging up foundations, and maybe even relocating the house to a different neighborhood.

But everyone's process is different. I might write a first draft twice as fast as Maria, but mine are probably twice ten times as embarrassing. (Every first draft is embarrassing; let's not kid ourselves.) Most of my time and effort goes into the rewriting stage--I'll probably spend two months' worth of ten-hour days rewriting The Reawakened, if I'm lucky enough to get that much time.

Or maybe lightning struck this time, and I nailed the basic story and characters on the first try, and the revisions will be about remodeling and redecorating--deepening themes, beautifying the prose, smoothing the rough transitions.

Yeah, right.

But that's all later, in January and February, after I hear from my editor and beta readers and have a chance to put a fresh eye on it myself.

First, I'm taking the weekend off, for the first time since, hmm, July. I'm going to do anything I want.

Tomorrow I shall start the brain-douching process with the entire series of Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan, the tenth and final volume of which I never read, because I wanted to reread Vols. 1-9 leading up to it.

Monday morning I'll start writing Bad to the Bone. Monday evening during the slaughterfest biggest upset in NFL history I'll begin the million little business things I've neglected over the last six weeks.

But right now I'm not even going to think about that. I'm just going to sit here and admire those two little words:


Oooh. Pretty.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First amendment inconveniences government; too bad, says judge

According to this Associated Press article, federal judge Stephen Crocker turned down a request by federal prosecutors to subpoena specific identifying information about customers.

In their attempt to prosecute a used book seller for tax evasion, the feds tried to get a hold of sales records, including identifying information for 24,000 customers. Later they scaled back their request, asking to violate the privacy of only 120 individuals (oh, that's better).

As Crocker stated,
It is an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against somebody else.

Between this and the unflinching stance of librarians against certain sections of the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, the people of this great nation seem to agree: reading is private.

Though if you want to shout from the rooftops that you enjoyed my books, feel free.

The key word there is "free."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Worst Book Titles

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Book Page (yes, most newspapers allow exactly one page to discuss books these days) held a contest to see who could find the worst title of a real book.

The Winner:

an actual book published by Disney, who apparently employed a disgruntled marketing peon who decided to name one final book on his way out the door. If you're looking for a good immature laugh, click on the above link and read some of the reviews.

Runners up:

What's the worst title on your bookshelf? I'll go check mine out and report back, as soon as I get this cat off my lap.

UPDATE 2:13 PM: OK, if we disqualify The Tao of Pooh because of the above results, and give a break to Descartes' Discourse on Method and Meditation on First Philosophy, Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, and Husserl's Introduction to Eye-Gouging Boredom, we're left with one obvious answer:

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. Not that it's not a fantastic book. Hardy was emo when emo wasn't cool (not that it is now--if it were, emos would have nothing to sigh about). But the title doesn't exactly grab you by the shirt collar and scream, "Buy me! Curl up with me! Me love you long time!"

I think we can safely put "Obscure" on the no-no list of title words. Right above "Pooh."

*this is now on my Amazon wishlist, and no, I'm not kidding


Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Meme of Happy Happiness

Rob at Laughing at the Pieces tagged me on a meme and said for me to do it when I'm out of hibernation. I'm not even close to poking my head out of the cave, but no one needs a happy like someone writing a war book.

Some number of things I'm happy about:

1) My husband's high school reunion (correlating to Rob's # 7). Best friends and eighties music, all in one night!

2) My cat Tiggy got good blood results yesterday. She has chronic renal failure, which is a terminal illness, but she's much improved from a month ago, so I'm setting back her Doomsday Clock to 12:01 a.m., as befitting an immortal creature.

3) Just got ARCs of Wicked Game in the mail. They're gorgeous, and the acknowledgments made my husband smile. I have a fun contest planned here next week to see who gets the very first one.

4) The soundtrack to HBO's Rome finally came out. When I bought it, Amazon told me that I should also buy the soundtrack to 300. So I did (though I accidentally paid 8 bucks extra for the stupid deluxe version). They are both outrageously wonderful and perfect accompaniment for writing a war novel.

5) Joe Torre will be managing the Dodgers next year.

6) Brett Favre is having the season of a lifetime, proving that 38-year-olds can still kick ass.

7) There's a comet in Perseus that is currently bigger than the sun. No, I'm serious.

I'm shy about tagging people, so consider it all-inclusive. Just link back here. Have a happy weekend!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Tom Stoppard play

The idea of rock 'n' roll is absolutely at the center of it...there is a form of expression which has beat, which has rhythm, which, when you begin to play it, has human beings moving instinctively, responding, letting go, becoming free, becoming wild.
--director Trevor Nunn

My favorite playwright Tom Stoppard has a new one opening on Broadway this week called Rock 'n' Roll. It's not just about the music genre, but also "everything from the lives of Czech dissidents and British Marxists to conflicting theories of consciousness to the Greek poetry of Sappho," according to this NPR piece, which features scenes of the play you can watch on your very own Home Personal Computer, which I hear a lot of the kids have these days.

If you have the means, I highly recommend checking it out.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hibernation update

Got an extension until Thanksgiving on The Reawakened, and I'm chugging along on that. I promise that this time next year you'll be reading it thinking, "Wow, I'm so glad she spent the lifespan of a piece of German paper writing this book instead of blogging."

But I thought I'd pop in to celebrate the beginning of the six-month countdown to Wicked Game (pre-order now and save 5%!) by spreading the news about a symposium at U Mass Amherst this weekend. Unbroken Chain: Grateful Dead and American Culture will be more than "a bunch of people sitting around talking about favorite concert memories," according to this Associated Press article. Insert easy joke here.

I'll try to keep popping in with brief posts here and there over the next few weeks. But right now, gotta get back to War and Peace--I mean, The Reawakened.

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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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"Shattered," a Shade novella!

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Jeri Smith-Ready

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

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