Friday, February 29, 2008

Interview with Anton Strout, author of DEAD TO ME

Happy Leap Day, everyone! Today we celebrate this rarest of dates, this precious calendar gift (for those of us who have stuff due in March) with Anton Strout, debut author of Dead to Me, starring psychometrist Simon Canderous. Anton's giving away a signed copy of the book to one lucky commenter.

Speaking of such prizes, the winner of a signed copy of Mark Henry's Happy Hour of the Damned is...Saroya! Congrats! The rest of you, go buy it now, using the link in the previous sentence, so that one day I can put my dog through obedience school with the kickbacks from Amazon.

So what's psychometry? Well, Simon's deal is this: he can divine information about someone by merely touching an object that belonged to them. Though this power wreaks havoc with his love life, it's launched his career with the Department of Extraordinary Affairs (Other Division, to be precise). Paranormal bureaucracies always do the right thing, right?

SciFiChick said, "Dead To Me has all the fun and mystery of the Dresden Files with great secondary characters as well. Paranormal creatures and danger, infused with comedic relief, made this debut stand out from among the rest."

Q. What's been your biggest surprise/thrill about your first release?

Anton: I think it’s that people seem to really enjoy reading it, for the most part. Yes, it has problems that I think a lot of first books do, but overall I put my heart and humor into it, and I think it comes across to most people. The book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but nothing ever is. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Oh, and there was a cake at my launch party with the book cover on it. That was a fun surprise too.

How does Simon control his psychometric abilities? Is he pretty much limited to using credit cards instead of cash?

Well, that’s the problem. He really can’t control really them, which has pretty much destroyed every relationship he’s ever had. However, Simon doesn’t get readings off every last item he touches. Some items have far more resonance than others. Otherwise Simon couldn’t get even get dressed without putting himself in hypoglycemic shock on a regular basis.

I've read you were working on a non-urban fantasy novel about an aging punk band when you sold Dead to Me. Do you hope one day to straddle genre lines and publish in mainstream fiction as well?

To me, a genre label is the last thing I think of when I sit down to write. I just want to get the story out, whatever that tale is. I’d love to publish my mainstream work, but whether that happens under my name or if any of the audience will follow me over to it remains to be seen.

How was your first booksigning? Was it everything you dreamed? How many people asked you where the bathroom was?

It was astounding. From what I was told, I was charming and funny and read the piece well. I also compared it against a book I wrote in the fourth grade and that was well received. Then I learned the strangest lesson of all: it’s near impossible to write witty things in books while signing and say witty things at the same time. So I felt like I was ignoring my signees every time I started signing one.

Based on your MySpace page, we have several beloved defunct shows in common. If you had the power to resurrect one of the following, which would you choose: MST3K, The Critic, Sports Night, or Arrested Development?

This question is tougher than I thought it would be, but I would love to have MST3K back, the early years. I think so much bad scifi movies have come out in recent years that they could use a good ribbing from Joel and the Bots. Mike would be okay, too, but it got kinda sketchy once we got to Bobo and Brain Guy and Pearl. Incidentally, one of my main characters is named Jane Clayton-Forrester in homage to MST3K and, by association, War of the Worlds.

If you could inhabit the life of any of your characters, enter their world and deal with it as that person, which one would you choose?

I have this older character in the series: Inspectre Argyle Quimbley. He’s the head of Other Division and he’s been around forever and although he’s somewhat grandfatherly and jovial now, you just know he’s kicked some serious paranormal ass over the years. Every so often it comes out and there are rumors all around the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, but I would love to be him in his youth. I think there’s a book in that.

Conversely, which of your characters would you most like to bring to life in our world (maybe as a best friend or much, much more ;-) ?

Hmmm… I think I’d have to go with Simon. I like the guy. I think his powers are Wonder Twins cool! I feel like I’d owe it to him to make him real in this world. Although Jane does have a sexy ass… tough call…

Same two questions, but use examples from another author's work (including television/movies/theatre)?

If I could inhabit someone else's character, I’d go with Spider-man. Comparatively, his powers are small time and he does best in a city, but I’d kill to be ole Webhead. Do you have connections? I’ll sign in blood if I have to!

And if I could bring some other character into this world…again, tough call, but I’d have to go with Ash from the Evil Dead series. I think he’d be a hoot in the upcoming zombie apocalypse. I bet you thought I was gonna say Mary Jane, didn’t you?

Which author, living or dead, would you most love to collaborate with?

I think Douglas Adams and I would have a good collaboration purely out of nostalgia’s sake, but you know Joss Whedon could call me anytime and we could get cracking…

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?

I think there would be like a week where authors would walk in editor’s shoes so both sides would understand each other. There’s a symbiosis in the relationship, but I think it would make the whole process make sense to both sides. Not that this happened to me. My editor works down the hall from me, which makes it easy to work out all the kinks, but I think walking in each other’s shoes would be a tremendous benefit to all involved in the publishing process.

What's the weirdest tidbit of research you've ever incorporated into a book?

Oh, there’s a LOT about actual New York history in my books, only twisted to the paranormal. However, in my non-genre work about the band, they have a big fight over contracts and I did a lot of research on the whole ‘Did Van Halen refuse to play gigs that didn’t have bowls of green only M&Ms?’

I wish I could say something cool like ‘I had to figure out if you could keep a severed head alive while mounting it to control a walking gun turret’, but well, I’ve said too much. There’s actually a few things I’ve researched out, but that would spoil some very fun parts of Dead to Me and its sequel.

What's your earliest memory?

I can remember being like two years old, sitting in my crip playing with a green cigar and a cash register (apparently my fantasy was to be a Vegas pawn broker). My mom was wearing a blue shirt with white stars and red stripes on it, and Don McClean was playing on the radio. It’s probably the purest and happiest thought I have.

Do you have any phobias?

Snakes and rodents freak me out. I just got the shivers while typing that and had to check under the couch (this is New York, either could be there!) Other than that I have the general neurosis I think most fledgling writers have. Is there a clinical term for fear of teh suck?

My husband hates when people use the word 'barometer' to mean 'measure.' Which word usage faux pas drives you berserkest?

I’m sure I make tons of them everyday (as one reviewer recently pointed out…), but I am driven mad by people who use the word ‘irregardless’. Oh and fun things like ‘ATM machine’ which is like saying Automated Teller Machine machine.

Name a literary cliche that makes you throw a book across the room.

Gah! I don’t mind clichés or even the occasional ‘Mary Sue’… if they’re done well. BUT I am a little tired of Buffy Summers clones, which, I suppose is why I dabble at poking fun of the kick ass heroine so much in my series.

Let's say there's a TV show, movie, or recording artist that has a cult of you. Which is it? (i.e., what do you like that no one else you know likes)?

I love ska music, in particular the Third Wave movement, which is best exemplified by my favorite band of all time, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I started going to their shows back in 91, hung with them, saw countless shows, and sadly they broke up a few years ago. There is talk of a reunion, so I’m hopeful!

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Catch up on my video gaming. Video games, when done well, are some of the best storytelling out there and I love to immerse myself in them when I can.

If you could ask your favorite author one question and they had to answer honestly, what would it be?

I’d ask J.J. Abrams (who technically is an author) what the grand scheme for the ending of Lost is. I got burned by all that last season Rimbaldi crap on Alias and I MUST KNOW!!!

If you could write in a totally different genre than your current one, which would you choose?

I’d write those cowboy western porn series, like Gunsmith, “Longarm” and my favorite name, Slocum. Am I kidding? I’ll never tell!

What are you working on now, and what new releases can we expect to see from you down the road?

I just turned the sequel to Dead to Me in to my editor so I suspect we’ll see it next March on shelves. And there’s the band book I’d like to get back to, but ideas keep popping in my head for book three of my series, so I gotta play to my strengths right now.

If you could tell a stranger just one thing about Dead to Me (other than what it's about--no cheating by quoting synopses or back cover blurbs), what would it be?

Damn you and your cleverness. I’d tell them, “The author really misses Buffy and Ghostbusters and if that’s your kind of humor, welcome to the Department of Extraordinary Affairs.”


Sigh...the more I hear about this book, the more bitter I am that I'm in Deadline Hell. Can I get an extra Leap Day, please, just to read it? February 30, anyone?

Give Anton a comment or a question, or tell us which superpower you think would be most inconvenient, down there in the comments before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 6. I'll draw a name and announce the winner next Friday morning.

If you don't have a Blogger account, never fear! Just sign in as anonymous and leave your name at the bottom of your comment so I can identify you.

Don't forget, you have until Monday at 5 to add a comment at Ann Aguirre's post to win a copy of Grimspace.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Guest blogger Ann Aguirre, bestselling author of GRIMSPACE

Give a big welcome to Ann Aguirre. Her debut print release from Ace Books, Grimspace, comes out today, and already she's a national bestseller, reaching #8 on the Barnes & Noble science fiction/fantasy mass market list, and #36 on the Borders Group list! But you can win a signed copy right here if you're lucky.

Grimspace is a gritty, emotional read that will keep you up late at night and cranky as a wet cat the next morning from all that missed sleep. (But unlike the wet cat, secretly grateful.) Dear Author gave it an A minus, which in most universes would be an A plus plus plus plus.

The novel's heroine, Sirantha Jax, possesses the rare J gene, allowing her to partner with starship pilots to 'jump' a vessel through great swaths of space. Her last jump resulted in tragedy, and now an interstellar conglomerate wants her dead, or at least locked up, drugged up, and shut up so she can't reveal their secret, one that would overthrow the established order.

Ann agreed to be my lab rat very first interview. I won't be hired on the Today show any time soon (we all know why, thanks to Mark Henry), but I'm hoping for at least a substitute gig on Morning Joe.

Q. What's been your biggest surprise/thrill about your first release?

Oh man, there have been so many moments that rocked my socks along the way that it's going to be hard to narrow it down. But if I'm brutally honest -- my biggest surprise was selling Grimspace. Even though my agent (and beta readers) adored it, I thought it might be a longshot because SF and romance have not been best pals in terms of crossover, but I'd like to think I'm at the vanguard. The reader response has been phenomenal.

My biggest thrill? Getting my Grimspace cover, no question. That made everything feel real, even more real than signing the contracts, because, hello, I have art! Plus, it's gorgeous. Scott Fischer is so gifted, and I hope I'm lucky enough to have him do all the Jax covers. I'd love keeping the same style through the series.

The word 'grimspace' is so chilling and evocative. How did you come up with it?

Short answer, hell if I know. Long answer, Walter Jon Williams penned an interesting novel called Aristoi, wherein he taps the idea that we possess fragments of other personalities locked away inside our brains; he called them daimones. These sub-personalities can think and feel independently and possess talents that we need. It's an intriguing take on beneficial schizophrenia, and I sometimes wonder if there's a kernel of truth to it.

Because the fact is, I don't know where Jax (or her world) came from. She told me about everything as we went along, including the name of grimspace. So I'm going to theorize that I allow these personality fragments to evolve into whole people, complete with history and everything, and then I listen to what they have to say (without going batshit crazy). It sounds marginally better than, "I write what the voices in my head tell me to."

That is the coolest thing I've ever heard. And yes, much better than the 'voices' explanation.

Though present tense narrative is becoming common in women's fiction and young adult fiction, it's still fairly rare in sf and romance. What made you decide to use this technique? Did you try it first in past tense and then switch over, or was it like that from the beginning?

No, I started in first person, present tense, which is weird because it's the only project in my long and multifarous career wherein I've done so. It wasn't a choice so much as dictated by Jax. Events unfold as the reader rides along with her.

When an author writes in past tense, the reader has the unconscious security of knowing that everything must've worked out in the end, or the narrator wouldn't be able to relate his story.

At least, that's how I feel when reading.

If you could inhabit the life of any of your characters, enter their world and deal with it as that person, which one would you choose?

Hm, I'm going to say none of them. Why? Well, I'm pretty hard on my characters. I put them through the physical and emotional wringer, and frankly, I don't think I could hack it. I'd much rather be in my office writing about their harrowing adventures than having them.

Conversely, which of your characters would you most like to bring to life in our world (maybe as a best friend or much, much more ;-) ?

I'm always madly in love with whatever hero I'm writing. Right now, it's a cold-as-ice hitman named Reyes. I love a hero who seethes with passion deep down and yet keeps it tightly controlled. Until he meets the heroine. Then his iron discipline begins shorting out, and to me, there's just nothing quite as hot as watching an iceman melt. So I'll have to say, I wouldn't mind being the focus of this hero's leashed longing.

Same two questions, but use examples from another author's work (including television/movies/theatre)?

This is tough because I've spent many years learning to enjoy being exactly who I am. I can't think of anyone whose life I'd want other than my own. I'm fantastically happy, and I'm living my dream, so I'm going to pass on this one.

The second question, though, what movie character would I want brought to life? That's sooo easy. Riddick. I have such a crush on that character. Vin Diesel's looks and voice add to the package, but the character himself... man.

I love an anti-hero. We know he's a criminal and a killer from his backstory, but in the movie, he doesn't actually hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it. It makes you wonder how much of his rep came from people looking to make a name off him, and him putting them down for it.

I think something primitive in the feminine psyche responds to that sort of toughness. The hint of danger gets our adrenaline going, and the idea that he'd use his strength to take on our enemies and protect us? Powerful stuff.

Which author, living or dead, would you most love to collaborate with?

Sharon Shinn. I bought her books back when I didn't even have money for food. I sold plasma to buy her books. She was the first author I read who combined romance with fantasy--and she did it with such deft elegance that my chest felt tight when I finished one of her novels. So if I ever was so fortunate to collaborate with her (or heck, share anthology space with her!) I would feel like I had totally made it.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?

The speed, I suppose. I hate waiting for books I really want, and I know most readers feel the same. I'd also like to see it become more green when possible. My publisher is going to electronic edits now, though, which should help.

What's the weirdest tidbit of research you've ever incorporated into a book?

How it feels inside a cow's vagina. Thanks a lot, too. I'd almost blocked that out. Now I'm gonna start having the flashbacks again. No, I'm not saying another word.

What's your earliest memory?

Reading Bambi in my bedroom when I was supposed to be asleep. What? It was summer, dammit. You can't expect a four year old to sleep when the sun's out.

Do you have any phobias?

I'm terrified of tiny lizards. A tiny lizard once cornered me in the kitchen for like ten minutes while I yelled for my husband. He still mocks me to this day, but I'm afraid they'll jump in my hair and then, hello, lizard-hair! It'll be running with its tiny scaly feet all over my head, and what if I smash it while trying to get it out? Then I'd have lizard guts in my hair. So not cool.

My husband hates when people use the word 'barometer' to mean 'measure.' Which word usage faux pas drives you berserkest?

Hm. I'd have to say use of the word 'drowned' bothers me most. "She had all the appeal of a tiny drowned angel." Well, okay, but this meaning of drowned -- to die by suffocating in water or another liquid -- trumps any other. It's what I think of first. So when I read that, I think the hero is that he's secretly a bit of a necro, which probably isn't what the author wants. Word choice is very important because of connotative meanings.

Name a literary cliche that makes you throw a book across the room.

Well, I'm quite done with the Chosen one trope, and I do rather wish that an orphan would just be an orphan one of these days, not a long lost heir to a throne, or a secret prince / princess.

Let's say there's a TV show, movie, or recording artist that has a cult of one, i.e., you. Which is it? (i.e., what do you like that no one else you know likes)?

I can't imagine too many people have heard of Little Annie, and I love her raw, torchy sound.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Read books and eat food that someone else cooked. Ravioli would be good.

If you could ask your favorite author one question and they had to answer honestly, what would it be?

"Will you pimp my book?" Wait, do they have to actually do the thing I ask or just answer honestly? Because I bet I could get a "no, go away" right now. *g*

If you could write in a totally different genre than your current one, which would you choose?

I'd love to be published in romance. I've got sales in SF and UF, so now I'm turning my sights toward conquering paranormal romance. Mwahahaha! We will stop at nothing less than world domination.

Actually, that's a lie. Romance, fantasy and SF will do it for me. I haven't the clever puzzle-building brain for writing mysteries.

What are you working on now, and what new releases can we expect to see from you down the road?

I'm working on a hot paranormal romance project. Once I have that proposal done, I'll write Hell Fire, which is book two in my Corine Solomon series (urban fantasy with Latin flavah). After that, it will be the third contracted Corine novel. There are more Jax books in the pipeline as well, pending approval.

Wanderlust, Jax book two, will be coming out in September. And look for the first Corine book, Blue Diablo, in '09.


Ask Ann a followup question, tell her how much you want to read her book, or make friendly with your own daimones. Whatever you choose, do it in the comments before 5 p.m. EST on Monday, March 3. (Crap, it's almost March already?) I'll draw a name and announce it next Tuesday morning.

If you don't have a Blogger account, don't panic! Just sign in as anonymous and leave your name at the bottom of your comment so I can identify you.

Also, there are still three more days to get your commentin' on down at Mark Henry's post to win a copy of Happy Hour of the Damned.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guest blogger Mark Henry on internet addiction

Or, why Meredith Vieira is pointing her Holy Water Super Soaker at me.

Introducing your next mad obsession, debut author Mark Henry. Mark's new novel, Happy Hour of the Damned, comes out on Tuesday. It's the first in the series about Amanda Feral, advertising exec-turned flesh-eating zombie.

Tez Miller in her review at Urban Fantasy Land called it "so all-encompassingly engaging that I started hating my work and myself." More soothingly, Romantic Times pronounced it, "A truly unique and wildly warped tale!"

Mark has graciously agreed to take a few minutes away from the cuticle-gnawing, pulse-tripping, inner-cheek-chewing anxiety of a debut release to guest-blog.

But that's not all! He's agreed to give away a signed copy of his book to one lucky commenter. See below for details. But read the entry first.


Blogging: Harmless Promotional Device or Devil's Playground?

When Jeri asked me to guest blog, I was skeptical. Guest blogging, Jeri? I asked. Is that really an effective use of my time? Shouldn't I be writing? Trying to make money for my family? Oh nay, Mark, she assured your naïve and humble writer friend. Guest blogging is a harmless means of reaching out to potential readers. Looking back on the conversation, I can see her now, rubbing her hands together like the succubus she is.

That's right, faithful readers. Goody Jeri is a succubus!

On Wednesday morning, over my steaming cup of Kirkland Signature coffee ground fresh in the most inconvenient coffee pot/grinder (that the devil himself designed) with cream and two Splendas, I saw with my very own eyes. The Today show did a segment on internet addiction. There was Meredith Vieira, that purveyor of all that is holy, talking to an "addictions expert" and an author/blogger who was an "addict." The "expert" reported that authors who blog were particularly susceptible to the "desires of the plastic and wire." I may be paraphrasing that last bit, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Take this blog here. I've spent days trying to figure out what to say. Days I could have spent interacting with my wife, bathing the dogs (or myself), writing a new manuscript. But no. It was not to be.

Why this very morning, Jeri used what they call "e-mail" to remind me that I'd agreed to partake in the guest bloggery. Was I frightened? Yes, dear reader. I'm not ashamed to say, I was. For it was clear. I was being led down the path to "internet addiction."

So I ask you, won't you help? Before I end up in the sights of Meredith Vieira's judgment?

Or at the very least, prove me wrong by buying my book (Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry, in bookstores everywhere February 26th, 2008). That's Tuesday, people. Is it too much to ask?

Or has this succubus entranced you, too?

MARK HENRY was a psychotherapist before he did a 180 to torture minds with his fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, three furry monsters that think they're children, and a waterboard, in case Goody Jeri comes a-calling. His debut novel, Happy Hour of the Damned, is a zombie comedy in urban fantasy clothing. Visit him at his website at

Ask Mark a question or lament/deny your own internet addiction in the comments, before 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 28. (That's 3:30 for you Newfoundlanders--don't make me remind you again.) I'll draw a name and announce it Friday morning.

If you don't have a Blogger account, don't worry! Just sign in as anonymous and leave your name at the bottom of your comment so I can identify you.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Color me caved

It's that time of whenever again, folks, when I need to pretend the outside world doesn't so much exist. I'm in the homestretch of the Novel Possibly Known As Bad to the Bone, and then it's the rewrite of The Reawakened, and the the rewrite of TNPOKABTTB. All before March 31.

But never fear! This time I won't be leaving you entirely. I will give you an update each Tuesday on the latest Lucky Thirteen winner.

EVEN BETTER, I've got guest authors lined up, beginning Saturday with debut author Mark Henry, whose Happy Hour of the Damned comes out next week. Dude will make you laugh, guaranteed, and he'll be giving away a signed copy of his new 'zomedy' (that's zombie comedy, for you industry outsiders) to one lucky commenter.

Speaking of authors doing my work for me offering interesting things to read, urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer Yasmine Galenorn just put up the most phenomenal series of posts over on the Fangs Fur & Fey community, entitled "The Nuts & Bolts of Publishing."

I encourage every writer or friend/family member of a writer to read it for an informative reality check. (I think my loved ones suspect I'm a loser because my publishers haven't sent me on an all-expenses-paid book tour. Now they can see I'm oh-so-typical!)

Part 1: How a Manuscript Becomes a Book
Part 2: Advances & Royalties
Part 3: Sales & Promo

And now, for your viewing pleasure, an Australian cat sleeping with my book (click for larger version):

His name is Manny, and you can see him with other books that are actually out.

If you have a photo of your pet sleeping with (or eating, or vaguely staring at) one of my books, let me know, and I'll post it! Note: Children do not count as pets, and it's against my privacy instincts to post pics of people's kids.

Now playing: Don't Turn Around - Ace Of Base
via FoxyTunes

Yes, I like Ace of Base. Make something of it. I dare you.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Your new lucky number

Thirteen weeks from now, on Tuesday, May 13, Wicked Game will officially be unleashed upon the world.

Read the first chapter here.

And at long last, here's the final front cover (click for larger version)!

In the fine print at the top it says:

A novel of sex, blood, and rock 'n' roll

Below the title it says

Strikingly original, fascinating characters, rich with as much style and rhythm as the music her vampires love.” — Rachel Caine, bestselling author of the Weather Warden series


An addictive page-turner revving with red hot sex, truly cool vampires, and rock ’n’ roll soul.” — Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of Hunger Like No Other

and on the back it says,

Late-night radio you can sink your teeth into

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, 60s psychedelia, 80s Goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WMMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station—and the link it provides to their original Life Times—the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover becomes a matter of life and un-death.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara re-brands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around—next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher-and the perils graver-than any con game Ciara’s ever played…

* * *

To observe this date (and smoosh it into everyone's brain so that no one shows up at their local bookstore on May 1 looking for Wicked Game), I'm starting a Lucky Thirteen giveaway. Each Tuesday I'll give away a prize to one person drawn at random from my newsletter subscribers.

Prizes will include cover flats, WVMP Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll merchandise, gift cards to iTunes and bookstores, maybe an ARC or two, and in the last couple of weeks, signed copies of the book itself.

The first of the 13 is...Bonnie!

To be entered in the next twelve drawings, just sign up for my newsletter at my home page. It's all automated now, so all ya gotta do is type your e-mail address in the box and click "Submit." (Ain't technology great?)

Good luck!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

A stark contrast

Because I'm too lazy to embed video, and too grateful to Rob at Laughing at the Pieces, I'll just send you directly to his blog for this amazing parody of "Yes We Can."

My favorite part is the lady covering her kid's eyes. And the guy hyperventilating into a paper bag. And...all of it.

If you're bemused yet confused, go here for the original video.

And if you live in MD, DC, or VA, get out and vote tomorrow. I don't care how freakin' cold it is! Democracy needs us all.

Now playing: Everybody Knows - Leonard Cohen
via FoxyTunes


Page proofs

This weekend I worked on the second-pass page proofs for Wicked Game. I was pleasantly astonished to receive them at all--I don't think it happens very often, as usually the production schedule doesn't allow time for it. But this is my first book with Pocket, so maybe it's standard for them.

If nothing else, it gave me peace of mind that all my corrections from the last set of page proofs made it in (and any of you who have read the ARC know that they are legion). This time around it was tiny things, such as:

a) band names not being listed as "The" (e.g., "The White Stripes" instead of "the White Stripes")
b) one "blocking" flub I never noticed before (a cat jumps off the lap of a character who was standing up--oops!)
c) dialect "fixes." I was thrilled that the copyeditor didn't correct the dialect of my Jamaican or Mississipian characters (though he did attempt to "de-Pittsburgh" the hero), but the proofreader changed a couple of the Jamaican guy's phrases to correct English. Which made him sound, well, not Jamaican.

It was a great time for me to reread Wicked Game, as I'm in the last stages of the sequel's first draft. It reminded me of some important themes, character issues, continuing plot threads, etc.

Little things, too, like the fact that in Book One, a character is described as 'slim,' but in Book Two, he's buffed out. So clearly he needs to start going to the gym in the three months between books (story months, not publication months). But he has a life-changing event in Book One that causes him to start treating himself with more respect, so it totally makes sense that he would start working out, probably pretty religiously.

Speaking of which, my creaky elliptical machine is calling...

Now playing: The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - The Pogues
via FoxyTunes

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Caution: contains words

(In which you begin to lament the fact that I found the USB cable to my camera)

The other night I was fixing a box of frozen Birds Eye Green Beans with Almonds (which are delicious, by the way).

Note that Birds Eye Green Beans with Almonds is called "Birds Eye Green Beans with Almonds." If you're astute or, say, awake, you might infer that Birds Eye Green Beans with Almonds contains...well, yes, green beans, but what else?

I opened the box of Birds Eye Green Beans with Almonds, dumped the green beans into a microwave-proof container and pulled out the bag of....what, again?

Yes! Birds Eye was careful to give us ONE. FINAL. WARNING. that Birds Eye Green Beans with Almonds does, in fact, contain almonds.

Inspired by their paternalism, I decided to post similar labels on ambiguous objects in my house, such as this faucet:

And this creature:

And finally, realizing how much I might offend those with deadly nut allergies, I had to include a picture of myself, just as ONE. FINAL. WARNING:


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The last ARC winner--but wait, there's more!

Glory be, my husband found the USB cable for my camera. Check out a small sample of my ARCs:

Mega congrats to Melissa from MySpace, who sent me a private e-mail with her reason why she should get the final blog-giveaway Advance Readers Copy of Wicked Game. Let's just say my heartstrings were tugged.

There are two more ways you might receive an ARC of Wicked Game.

1) Be a reviewer.

If you write for a magazine or online book review site, contact me with the following information:

a) mailing address
b) URL of review site
c) how long you've been reviewing or how many reviews you've done for them
d) whether you'll accept a PDF if no more hard copies are available

After my publicists and I finish a readers group and podcaster mailing this month, we'll see how many are left. No guarantees, but we hope to get a copy into the hands of as many reviewers as possible.

2) Be on my mailing list.

Some time in the second half of this month (let's say February 20, though like a pregnancy due date, it probably won't be that day), I'll send out the Winter 2008 issue of my quarterly e-newsletter. Before each issue, I draw two names to win prizes, and this time--YES!--the prize is an ARC of Wicked Game.

To sign up, fill out my contact form and leave the check box checked, or send me an e-mail with the subject NEWSLETTER.

Good luck!

And Happy Mardi Gras!

And if you're in a Super Tuesday state that isn't Georgia, you still have time to get to the polls. Go make your Jeri proud!

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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!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

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Jeri Smith-Ready

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

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