Come on doooooooowwwwn! Just send me your mailing address and I'll pass it on to Maria.
Thanks to Maria and to all the great commenters and questioners. This was really fun. I'll see if I can't round up some more authors to
Spellbinding fantasy for the heart, mind, & soul
As you may know, I spent seven years working as a New York City tour guide. On double decker buses, on boats, and on foot, I've told the amazing story of this beautiful town to about a million people. Now, having hung up the microphone, I'm telling the story one last time -- in a nice comfortable theatre.
I wrote 400 Years in Manhattan, and designed its accompanying slideshow, from the perspective of a tour guide unconstrained by time or place. We'll visit places in New York which no longer exist, and compare the past and the present side by side. Most of the stories I tell in the show come directly from my tours, but the view is different. Instead of starting on Eighth Avenue, we start in 1609.
Labels: Voice of Crow
But then it occurred to me that I could still talk about the Animal of the Month as it applies to the books themselves, since that’s probably more interesting to readers, anyway. After all, more information on real animals can be found on the internet.
So let’s start this month, right now, with Cougar. Here’s the description from the Discover Your Spirit Animal quiz results:
Grrr, baby—you're the personification of animal magnetism. Your confidence, beauty, and athleticism make you the target of many romantically inclined individuals. Too bad for them—you don't stick around long enough to make breakfast, much less a lifetime commitment. Hello Kitty, Goodbye Heart.
Sounds dangerous but fun, no? In the Aspect of Crow series, the Cougars are the hunters. They have super-speed and strength, average stamina, and are skillful tree climbers. They can see in the dark and therefore make great sentries.
In a scene from Eyes, Alanka tells Rhia about her blemished relationship history:
Alanka counted on her fingers. “There was Adrek, a Cougar, he was the first. After that came Morran, a Bobcat, then Endrus, another Cougar.” Alanka sighed. “Learned my lesson finally. Thrice bitten, once shy, right? Cats don’t stay around.”
Adrek is less than reliable, but in Eyes he does the right thing when it really counts. In an early draft of Voice, he broke Alanka’s heart again, but the feedback I got from beta readers said that he was too much of a jackass for a strong woman like Alanka to fall for. So I shipped him off to a foreign country to rescue his kidnapped two-year-old daughter, thus
a) making him more heroic, and
b) saving Alanka from his jackassedness.
As with all my books, Starfish was more rewritten than written, and with each subsequent book the need to rewrite becomes more rather than less. As the writer struggles to grow in knowledge of techniques, characterization, theme, more and more work becomes necessary.
--Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water
What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too! Get it?
--Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked Children Only.
--Madeleine L'Engle, from Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
Art is an affirmation of life, a rebuttal of death.
And here we blunder into paradox again, for during the creation of any form of art, art which affirms the value and the holiness of life, the artist must die.
To serve a work of art, great or small, is to die, to die to self. If an artist is to be able to listen to the work, he must get out of the way...And if we die willingly, no matter how frightened we may be, we will be found and born anew into life, and life more abundant...
I am mortal, flawed, trapped in my own skin, my own barely used brain. I do not understand this death, but I am learning to trust it.
People are still asking me about the death of the book, and yet here I am and every day I go out to the biggest bookstores that have ever existed and are doing the most business daily of any bookstores in history.
It's the oldest and the first mass medium. And it's the one that requires the most training to access. Novels, particularly, require serious cultural training. But it's still the same thing --I make black marks on a white surface and someone else in another location looks at them and interprets them and sees a spaceship or whatever. It's magic. It's a magical thing. It's very old magic, but it's very thorough. The book is very well worked out, somewhat in the way that the wheel is very well worked out.
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**
"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!).
Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.
Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker