Monday, December 31, 2007

WordWatch 2007 - The Final Countdown

(Psst! Scroll past this for a new ARC giveaway in Friday's post.)

December 29:

Great day yesterday, almost five thousand words. I wrote a disturbing scene that went a lot further than originally intended. Clothes that were supposed to stay on, ended up on the floor. Oops.

Words remaining: 11,154
Words per day to meet goal: 3,718


December 30, 10AM:

Woo! Burning up the keyboard, plus I realized one of the Wicked Game tie-in short stories* I've started has almost 800 words, so I added that to the total. Also wrote 3,688 words, all before the football game. This could actually happen!

Total Words 2007: 293,315
Words remaining: 6,685
Words per day to meet goal: 3,342

December 31, 12:21 AM:

So close. Just found out we're getting a new foster later today (long, sad story, but it's kind of an emergency), but hopefully I'll be able to find five or six hours to write to finish off the three hundred thousand words. Problem is, I'm at the end of a scene and I'm not sure what's next, so it could be slower going than the last several days. Maybe something will come to me in my sleep.

Total words 2007: 296,713
Words remaining: 3,287

*to appear FREE on my website, one per month, starting with the release date

December 31, 10:52 PM


Total words 2007: 300,005

The champagne, she is a-poppin'. Happy New Year, everyone. I'm taking tomorrow off.

Now playing: Smile - Elastica
via FoxyTunes

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Another ARC winner and another chance to win

My box runneth over with Wicked Game ARCs, and the next one is going to Greg 'The Undead Rat' Fisher from MySpace for last week's drawing.

Congrats, Greg! I assure you he was chosen via a random number generator and not because he loves The Pogues (one of Shane's favorite bands, as mentioned in Wicked Game) and agreed with me about the Bowie/Crosby version of "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth."


This week's comment contest will focus on New Year's. I accomplished five of of my 17 goals for 2007. Some of them were pie-in-the-sky--or more accurately, pie-in-outer-space. I'm considering making "creating realistic goals" one of my goals for 2008.

Tell me about the 2007 resolutions you achieved. How'd you do it? And most important, how do you reward yourself when you achieve your goals?

My Puritan soul makes me terrible at the last part. I tell myself that the accomplishment (and the temporary subsidence of guilt) is a reward in itself, and sadly, I believe myself when I say it.

Deadline will be noon EST next Thursday, January 3. I'll include the people who commented on yesterday's post about how I should reward myself for hitting 300K words for the year.

Words remaining: 15,975
Words per day to make goal: 3,993

Now playing: The Other Improv - Nirvana
via FoxyTunes

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

New interview and WordWatch 2007

Heidi Ruby Miller sent me her famous Pick 6 interview, in which authors choose six out of fifteen questions to answer. I managed to squeeze into the end of the year, so go check it out.

You might remember that last year I embarked on the Quarter-Million-Word March. And failed, mostly because I wasn't in the middle of any first-draft projects. This year I passed that mark somewhere around Thanksgiving (woo-hoo!), and have nearly reached my goal of writing three hundred thousand words in one calendar year.

I have 18,856 words left, so with five days, that means 3,771 words/day. Definitely a challenge, but not an insurmountable one, considering I'm in the middle of the first draft of the second vampire book (if you can call 15% finished "in the middle").

Each day I'll post my current count. If I make 300K, what should be my reward?

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Winners announced and another ARC contest!

After perusing all 184 comments from 72 people (between Blogger, MySpace, LJ, and the Fangs, Fur & Fey community), I've picked winners for last week's fill in the blank contest. You guys made it really tough! Thanks to everyone who took part.

The prize for Most Appropriate goes to spark_force on LJ for Family curses never die, they just devolve.

It's the only one I like more than "mutate," because it goes to the heart of what I was trying to get across--changing, with some deterioration, but not sounding weak (like my original version, "get watered down"). "Devolve" is often used with "chaos," as in "The universe is devolving from order into chaos." Sounds negative, but in a mysterious as opposed to depressing way.

The prize for Funniest was a lot tougher, and I've decided to call a three-way tie, because they're funny in different ways:

First there's kehazen from FFF with, Family curses never die, they just mutate; growing a duckbill, beaver tail, poisonous barbs on their feet, and gaining the ability to lay eggs despite being mammalian. Oh, wait...that's a platypus, never mind. Man, evolution's a bitch.

Then janni from FFF offered, Family curses never die, they just move into assisted living.

Finally, Dave S. from Blogger gave us, "Family curses never die, they just--" I recall my uncle saying on his deathbed.


Moving on....

This week's ARC winner will be drawn from commenters across the three blogs. All you have to do is tell me your favorite pop/rock Christmas carol(s). Here are mine, in no particular order (and probably with a glaring omission or two that I'll run back and add later):

Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth - David Bowie & Bing Crosby
Please Come Home for Christmas - The Eagles
Father Christmas - The Kinks
Santa Claus is Back in Town - Elvis Presley
2000 Miles - The Pretenders

Deadline is noon EST next Thursday, December 27. Have a great weekend!

Now playing: Louis Armstrong (Holiday) - Winter Wonderland
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It is now....Post Time!

Once again I'm taking part in the annual eHarlequin Holiday Open House Post Party, where I'm giving away a signed copy of Voice of Crow as well as a signed cover flat of the original artwork.

Stop by, sign in, and win! Or just lurk and watch me try not to drink too much punch. I'll be there off and on until 10PM tonight.

Now playing: Violet - Hole
via FoxyTunes

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Divine badness

Because a lot of you weren't with me last December (and those who were are dying to hear it again), I must share with you a couple of Christmas carol gems I discovered a year ago.

First, a repost of my blog from December 13, 2006:


The unholiest of nights

I've often thought that a virtuoso performance of Verdi's Requiem can make a believer out of an atheist.

Now, courtesy of The Sneeze, I've found a song that will do the opposite.

(There's a streaming audio button you can hit, but which is barely visible in Firefox. It's right above the words 'or download the mp3.')

Merry Freakin' Christmas.


Make sure you listen to the whole clip if you can stand it, because it gets better worse as it goes along, right down to the last few seconds. It actually gives me an endorphin rush, either from the pain or the sudden influx of oxygen from laughing so hard.

Then, if you're still conscious, relax with a guy singing "Jingle Bell Rock" using nothing but the title words.

Should I worry that I enjoy these things?

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Fill in the blank and win an ARC!

Every week from now until the end of January, I'll be giving away Advanced Reader Copies of my upcoming urban fantasy novel, Wicked Game (aka, the vampire DJ book, release date: May 13, 2008). Most will be simple drawings, but this week, the first two winners will have to work for it.

Ready? Here we go:


Everyone knows the importance of a book's opening lines. Not only must they grab the reader, but they must indicate character, tone, and style.

It's a lot of pressure to lay on the shoulders of just a few words. Earlier this year I spent half a day rewriting the first three paragraphs of Wicked Game, then the rest of the day on the next two pages.

Here are the opening two paragraphs as originally submitted:

Family curses never die, they just get watered down. In Greek mythology, the Curse of the House of Atreus began with a guy making soup du jour out of his own son. But I’ll bet anything that generations later, the Curse only made the Atreus family forget to send each other birthday cards.

The Curse of the House of Griffin, whatever sinister form it may have taken in the Old World, has left me with a knack for the things I hate most: sales and marketing. I wish I had talent for singing or landscaping or alligator wrestling—anything that wouldn’t put me behind a desk in a straitjacket and pantyhose.

And here they are in the rewrite:

Family curses never die, they just mutate. In Greek mythology, the curse of the House of Atreus began with some smart-ass making soup du jour for the gods out of his own son’s meaty bits. Things went downhill from there. These days, though, the curse probably just makes the Atreus family forget to send each other birthday cards.

The curse of the House of Griffin, whatever sinister form it may have taken in the Old World, has left me with a gift for the persuasive arts. In the straight world, this means sales and marketing—or as I like to call it, S&M.

In her line edits, my editor changed the end of the first sentence back to "watered down." I thought "watered down" was an inherently weak image, so I changed it back to "mutate." (In effect, I stetted her stet.) But I wavered over it for a long time, because "watered down" has a slightly better rhythm.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: find me another word or phrase to end the sentence, "Family curses never die, they just________."

I'll choose two winners: Funniest and Most Appropriate (i.e., the one I'd actually consider using instead of "mutate"). No limit to the number of entries--give me as many choices as you can yank out of your pretty little brains. Winners will be chosen among the commenters on my blog, my MySpace blog, and my LiveJournal.

Deadline for entries: Wednesday, December 19, noon EST.

Each winner will get an Advance Readers Copy of Wicked Game. On Page One they'll see something so forehead-slappingly painful/hilarious, they'll understand why this sentence is such a big deal.

Now playing: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
via FoxyTunes

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Meh. Stupid mortal coil.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings...

--John Gillespie Magee, poet and aviator

Ladies and gentlemen, Antigone Pandora Smith-Ready has left the building. It was time to go, and she went with dignity and pride, the way she did everything else.

I'll get back to blogging about books and stuff as soon as I can. A million thanks for all the good wishes and virtual hugs you've given. I feel lucky to have such wonderful friends, and even luckier to have the best friend of all in Tiggy.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Back from the brink

As I mentioned last month, one of my cats (Antigone Pandora) has chronic renal failure. Even though it's a terminal disease, cats can survive for months or even years after diagnosis. The care regimen can get crazy at times--we give Tiggy subcutaneous fluids, shoot medicine into her mouth, smear medicine in her ears, and feed her four times a day (minimum).

This morning we took her to the vet on what I thought might be a one-way trip. She hadn't eaten all weekend voluntarily, and from my experience with feline cancer patients, that symptom usually signals the end is near. Not necessarily so with CRF.

To our great relief, the vet said Tiggy looked remarkably well, and somehow her weight hadn't dropped. She just needs some meds to make her tummy feel better, then the rest will follow from a resuming steady diet. They took some blood (and this time didn't have to gas her) and will have the results tomorrow.

Long story short, this is not the end.

OK, "relief" is an understatement. Though my eyes are still puffy from a bout with anticipatory grief, I'm giddy as a goat this afternoon. Hopefully this will mean a merry Christmas, but right now I'll settle for a Merry December 10.

Now playing: Beauty On The Fire - Natalie Imbruglia
via FoxyTunes


Friday, December 07, 2007

New York calling

This just in, from Publisher's Marketplace:
The Clash's THE CLASH, the seminal band tells their story in their own words, including hundreds of photos, many never-before-seen, and unique memorabilia from the band's own collection, to Ben Greenberg at Grand Central, for publication in October 2008, by Valerie Duff at Atlantic UK (NA).

I know what I'm getting a certain husband for his birthday next year.

Now playing: Ken Boothe - Moving Away
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A world without writers

Let's not forget: all the special effects and pretty faces and--gasp!--marketing efforts would be nothing without words on a page.

Find out more about how you as a fan of film and television can help the striking writers at Fans for the WGA.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The wind cries Brady

Un. Freaking. Believable.

The Ravens just almost beat the unbeatable Patriots. Almost. Almost. They were 20.5 point underdogs, but the wind was howling and McGahee was running and Ngata was tackling and Boller was connecting. Pats quarterback Tom Brady was having a bad night.

It all came down to the final drive. Score: Baltimore 24, Patriots 20, a minute and change to go. Pats 4th and 1, and the Ravens squashed them. Game over.


Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan had called a timeout before the snap--there was no play. Ravens D freaks out, ready to kill coach Brian Billick, whom they thought had called the TO.

Next play, 4th and 1 again. Pats fullback Heath Evans stuffed like a turkey for a one-yard loss. Game over!


Patriots guard Russ Hochstein is called for a false start. That play also didn't happen.

A few nail-gnawing plays later, Pats are 4th and 6. Brady makes an incomplete pass to the end zone. GAME *^(*)#ing OVER!


Ravens are called on what everyone agrees is a dubious defensive holding penalty. It's first-and-goal at the 8.

With a dull ache in our stomachs, we begin to understand that the game truly is over now, because this season holds what ESPN commentator Tony Kornheiser called a "tragic inevitability." Nothing, not a running back on fire, not a bloodthirsty defense, not even Mother Nature herself can stop the New England Patriots. Possibly ever.

Brady throws a touchdown on the next play. Of course. Ravens linebacker Bart Scott flips out, gets an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (15 yards), then throws the ref's flag into the stands (where presumably it was eaten by fans, then vomited onto the ref's head) and gets another UC call (for another 15 yards). An offsides call during the extra point attempt puts the kickoff at the Ravens 35-yard line (it would normally be at the Patriots' 25). So there's no kickoff return, which is sad because with 44 seconds left and decent field position, they could have had the tying field goal.

In desperation, Ravens QB Kyle Boller throws a Hail Mary pass into the 40-mph wind. It's freaking caught (which never happens) by wide receiver Mark Clayton.

At the two-yard line.

With no time left.


All year I've been rooting for the New England Patriots, even though they've become the Yankees of the NFL (I've been a Pats fan since way back when they were the underdogs). I've laughed as other teams have fallen in the path of Kornheiser's "tragic inevitability," laughed as other teams' fans have shaken their fists at the sky, screaming, "BRADYYYYY!" in impotent rage. Now I know how it feels to be squashed by the juggernaut.

Oh well. At least the Ravens didn't embarrass themselves on Monday Night Football again, and they have to feel optimistic about hosting the hated Colts next weekend.

And once again next Sunday, I'll root for the Patriots and laugh long and hard as Steelers fans raise their fists to the sky and scream, "BRADYYYYYY!"


Sunday, December 02, 2007


I just finished rereading the entire graphic novel series of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson, and finally reading the last installment. It was even better than I remembered, and unfortunately more relevant now than ever before.

If I could afford it, I'd send a boxed set of Transmetropolitan to every member of the White House press corps, as a desperately needed kick in the ass, to remind them of what journalism means--seeking the truth, no matter how it threatens those who pay for your excellent hairdos.

Then I'd send a set to Keith Olbermann and bloggers like Atrios and Daily Kos and Shakespeare's Sister, as a thank-you, because they don't need the reminder but might occasionally want a source of fire. Even if it comes in the form of a drug-fueled, dog-loathing, bowel-disrupting exhibitionist and his two filthy assistants.

Spider Jerusalem lives. Or democracy dies.

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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**


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or



"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.

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Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

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