Monday, January 07, 2008

Top Ten signs a book was written by me

Rachel Vincent brought a meme to my attention on the Fangs Fur & Fey LiveJournal community and invited us all to take part. I promised myself I wouldn't take more than half an hour away from Bad to the Bone to jot this down, so forgive the brevity.

Here we go, in order in which I thought of them. Call them Jeri Cliches or Smith-Ready Selling Points, it's the Top Ten Signs a Book Came Out of My Head:

1. Hero and heroine hit the sack fast. They don't always go all the way, but they usually break the sexual tension in a hot and hasty fashion. Exception: Voice of Crow. Oh, and The Reawakened, where self-denial reaches new heights of insanity. It's important to break out of ruts.*

2. Main character has hostile and/or distant relationship with father. Exception: Eyes of Crow.

3. Prominent gay or bisexual characters. Exception: Eyes of Crow.

4. Music is integral to the plot and characters. Once again, exception is Eyes of Crow (did I actually write that book?).

5. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. NO EXCEPTIONS

6. Natural dialogue and a fast pace. I guess these go together as stylistic factors, and the former certainly helps the latter.

7. Beta male hero. Exception: Requiem for the Devil. They don't get any more alpha than Lucifer. But he's the POV character, which probably increases my tolerance for the attitude.

8. Main character's friends and/or siblings get a lot of "screen time." This is self-explanatory, and yet I'm adding a note here because otherwise it looks funny, like I didn't want to talk about it.

9. Religion is prominent. Whether negatively or positively portrayed, it's always a psychological factor.

10. It's about more than what it's about. This probably sounds pompous, but I like my stories to be meaningful. My primary concern is to entertain, but if a reader comes away from the book looking at the world in a different way (or just looking at the world period), that's a bonus.

*Ruts. Hee. I just got that.

Now playing: Round & Round (It Won't Be Long) - Neil Young
via FoxyTunes

Labels: , , , ,


I thought I'd consider what I've read (and enjoyed) so far of Wicked Game to see how it stacked up against the meme. The only thing that is notable for its absence is religion, unless of course rock 'n' roll is taking its place. Admittedly I'm not too far along in the book so maybe it pops up later.

On the subject of religion, do you discount the possibility of portraying religion neutrally or as a combination of positive/negative? I'm not trying to pick a fight, I was just curious about the options you presented in the meme list.

Final note: I am reading the book on the Metro with my iPod on shuffle, which makes for a fun experience. I am also being diligent in frequently exclaiming "I can't put down this new book by Jeri Smith-Ready (author of Eyes of Crow)!" then changing cars.

Posted by: Blogger Dave S. at 1/08/2008 10:58 AM

Hey Dave, thanks for the public exclamations!

I suppose religion itself is portrayed neutrally in REQUIEM. It deals with a load of religious/theological questions in an unorthodox but ultimately affirmative way.

In the ASPECT OF CROW series, religion/spirituality is woven into the fiber of the book, and is seen as something real (the Animal Spirits do exist and are immanent in people's lives), so that's definitely a positive portrayal.

Negative comes in WICKED GAME, or at least it's negative from the heroine's perspective, for understandable reasons stemming from her childhood.

All I can say is, "Read on!" to discover what I mean.

(BTW, to the others, Dave got an ARC because he entered one of my weekly comment contests. Don't you wish you had one? You can't win if you don't play.)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 1/08/2008 11:25 AM

Hi, Jeri. I'm glad Rachel passed the meme along. I'm finding lots of authors new to me who are very tempting. And I have that nice B&N gift card to use up, too. ;+)

I lived in Baltimore for many years and had started a suspense novel when I was there. Very much a location book. I keep promising myself I'll go spend a few weeks and get the territory back in my mind, and updated, too. The last time I visited, a lot had changed already.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/08/2008 3:28 PM

ZaZa, Baltimore's changing all the time, mostly for the better. Definitely come back and visit. The city has so much character.

That was another thing I should've put on the list: the setting is always the mid-Atlantic, specifically Maryland/DC or PA. (Though REQUIEM has a scene at the Grand Canyon.) I'm getting ready to write some short stories that take place in: London; Isle of Wight, UK; Kingston, Jamaica; Memphis, TN; Youngstown, OH; and northern Mississippi. Should be a stretch, though I've visited all except Kingston and the Isle of Wight (research trip??).

Enjoy the gift card. :-)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 1/08/2008 3:41 PM

Number 10 is one of the things I especially love about your books.

Posted by: Blogger Ann Aguirre at 1/08/2008 5:52 PM

Post a Comment


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.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

Sign up for Jeri's newsletter

  • First draft of secret new project

Current Reads