Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jim's story is live!

I’ve posted the third story in my “Days the Music Died”/how-the-DJs-became-vampires series (thanks to Renee S. for the series title suggestion!).

At the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, Jim tunes in and turns on to a group of hippies who promise him the experience of a lifetime. The last experience, as it turns out.

Here’s the opening line:

The sixties are dying, and now, so am I.

Read the rest!

This story’s page features an Isle of Wight set list playlist, as well as a video of The Doors performing “When the Music’s Over,” the song they sang while Jim, uh, broke on through to the other side.

BONUS GIVEAWAY: Everyone who e-mails me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com (or comments on this post) with their thoughts on Jim’s story will be put into a drawing to win a choice of ONE of the following:

1) a DVD of MESSAGE TO LOVE: THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, featuring performances by The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Joni Mitchell
2) a CD of The Who’s Isle of Wight concert
3) a CD of Jimi Hendrix’s Isle of Wight act, which sadly was his final appearance before his death

The drawing will take place at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, December 2.

If you subscribed to my newsletter, you could've read it a week ago. I'm just sayin'. The signup box is on every page of my website.

Read the first in the short story series: “Crossroads” (Monroe’s tale).

And the second, “Rave On” (Spencer’s story).

I probably won't be blogging again until after the holiday weekend. I plan to spend the week catching up on e-mail, cooking scrumptious food, and nursing my convalescent post-surgical pupster.

For frequent updates, this week and always, come follow me on Twitter. You're more likely to see the real, spontaneous me there any day. If you need extra incentive, in February I'll be doing a Twitter-exclusive contest to win an ARC of Bad to the Bone. It's fun, it's quick, it's thoroughly non-annoying: it's Twitter!

(By the way, you don't have to be a Twitter user to follow me--my status updates have an RSS feed. But the contest will be for Twitter users only.)

Don't forget, I'll be signing books and doing a reading from The Reawakened at the Winchester, VA, Borders bookstore this Saturday, 3-5pm. Hope to see you there!

Now playing: Snow Patrol - You Could Be Happy
via FoxyTunes

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Guest blog and another chance to win a BAD TO THE BONE ARC

I'm guest-blogging over at Lori Devoti's 30 Days of Vampires about vampires and rock 'n' roll (go figure). Come tell me which rock star you think is a vampire (or should be), or how you would handle immortality, and automatically enter to win a choice of a signed copy of Wicked Game or a signed ARC of Bad to the Bone when they're available in February.

The contest runs until the end of the 30 Days, which is December 11 at midnight, so stop by and say hi!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Talk Radio group interview, guest blog, and Meadow update

Here's the link for the audio for yesterday's Blog Talk Radio interview, focusing on world-building (I'd hoped to have the embedded audio, but it's not working for me, so just follow the link if you wanna listen).

Also, today I've got blog duty at SFNovelists.com, where I bring up the question of not just where but when to set one's novel--specifically around holidays or certain times of the year?

Our greyhound Meadow just went into surgery to fix four ruptured discs in her back. We tried the "conservative" method, i.e., crate rest and pain meds, to no avail, so this was our last option. Her road to wellness will be a long one (6-8 weeks, maybe more), but the doc seemed optimistic about her chances for a full recovery. Not sure if we'll ever let her run again, and she's definitely hanging up her WWE title belt (do they wear belts?), but we'll be thrilled just to be able to take her for a walk without painful consequences.

Keep your fingers crossed for her!

Now playing: Lisa Loeb - Do You Sleep
via FoxyTunes

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

World-building podcast today at 3!

I'll be on Blog Talk Radio today at 3pm Eastern discussing world-building with fellow urban fantasy authors Mark del Franco, Ilona Andrews, Kathryn Smith, Jordan Summers, and Cheyenne McCray, along with Harper Collins executive editor Diana Gill.

Fans can call the following number to listen from their phone and ask questions live during the show.

CALL IN NUMBER: (347) 826-9684
Or, listen to the show and ask questions online:


If you go there now, you can set a reminder to receive an email just before the show starts. We recommend you check out the site ahead of time in order to login to the chat room discussion.

I'll post the whole thing here after it's over. Hope to hear from you!

Now playing: Donovan - Colours
via FoxyTunes

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reminder and update on BTTB contest and interview

You've got three hours left to enter the drawing to win a choice of Wicked Game or an ARC of Bad to the Bone over at Bitten by Books. Also, people have been asking some great questions, so if you've only read the interview itself and want to know even more of my deepest secrets, check out the comments.

Good luck!

Now playing: Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
via FoxyTunes

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview and your first chance to win an ARC of BAD TO THE BONE!

More big news on a Monday (scroll down for the other thing):

Bitten by Books has a brand-new interview with yours truly. One lucky commenter will win their choice of an autographed copy of Wicked Game or an autographed Advance Reading Copy of Bad to the Bone when it becomes available (probably January or early February). This is the very first opportunity to win the latter, so go read my sleep-deprived thoughts and leave a comment. Get extra chances to win by spreading the word (see the bottom of the interview post for details).

Thanks to Rachel at Bitten by Books for the interview! Comments will be taken from now until 3pm Eastern Time tomorrow. I'll be stopping by all day today and tomorrow morning, so feel free to ask more questions. See you there!

Now playing: Joni Mitchell - Woodstock
via FoxyTunes

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New Aspect of Crow short story is live!

Chapter One of my new Aspect of Crow tie-in story is now up on my publisher's website!

"Storm Reaper" takes place about two years before The Reawakened, but since it's set in a completely different area with different characters, you can read it either before or after that book.

Fans of Voice of Crow will remember Kiril, Filip's comrade from the Ilion cavalry. He's one of the protagonists of this story, along with a disgraced noblewoman named Helena. Filip and Alanka make an appearance in the story as well.

I was thrilled to be able to visit this world one last time. As I might have mentioned, several characters and plots were cut from The Reawakened as I was working on it. The biggest deletion dealt with how the war and revolution were affecting Filip and Kiril's native country of Ilios.

A new chapter will appear every Monday between now and January 19. Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ending a series, and newsletter reminder

I'm the Affiliate of the Month over at my favorite bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, which means I wrote a guest blog post connected to my new release, The Reawakened. "When 'The End' means THE END" discusses what it feels like to end a series on purpose (hint: there are smiles involved) and when an author knows it's time to say goodbye.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on when a series should end. If you don't have a MySpace account, feel free to discuss it here. I've copied the questions from that blog post here:

Is the "stand-alone trilogy" a thing of the past? Are you more likely to start reading a series if you know when it will end? Do you have different expectations for open-ended series versus those with a defined story arc? Does it depend on the genre or subgenre?


Monday I'll be sending out the Fall issue of my quarterly newsletter. As always, I'll draw two names to win a prize just before it goes out and announce it in the issue. This issue's prize will be an autographed copy of The Reawakened.

And that's not all! Newsletter subscribers will get a link to my new short story, "When the Music's Over," which depicts the weird and wild way Jim from Wicked Game became a vampire. I swear, I was not on drugs when I wrote it, except Aleve and Tylenol. The rest of the world will have to wait an extra week to read the story.

If you haven't read the previous tie-in short stories, here they are: "Crossroads" (Monroe) and "Rave On" (Spencer).

To subscribe, just put your e-mail address in the SIGN UP FOR JERI'S NEWSLETTER box on the sidebar over there. I'm getting really close to 1,000 subscribers, and I think there might be a special prize for #1,000. Good luck!

Now playing: You on the Run - The Black Angels
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saturday's booksigning, and a great cause

A couple of quick notes before I dive into my main project for the day, catching up on all my e-mail, MySpace, Facebook, etc. correspondences before they saturate my alveoli. (That's not as dirty as it sounds.)

This Saturday I'll be signing all my books (including the new one, The Reawakened) at the Waldenbooks in Cumberland, MD, along with several other local fantasy/science fiction/horror authors. If you're in the area, please come out and say hi. Do your part to keep the economy from imploding.

Fellow fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss is raising money for a wonderful charity, Heifer International, an organization that really makes a difference in the lives of ordinary people by providing them with livestock with which they can continue to earn a living. (Obviously, it's animals like goats and chickens and sheep, which can produce without being slaughtered.) He's matching every donated dollar, and the thermometer thingy on his donation page is getting redder and redder.

Patrick has a similar philosophy toward charitable giving as I do:

There are a lot of worthwhile charities out there. Important causes. Things I feel strongly about. But Heifer is my favorite. Here's why.

Let's say by some miracle I raised ten thousand dollars to help fight cancer, or Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's. While it would help the cause, it would just be a tiny drop in the bucket. Enough to help fund some lab's research for a couple weeks.

But we don't need to research a cure for hunger or poverty. We know how that works. Heifer doesn't just hand out bags of rice, Heifer gives a family a goat and teaches them how to take care of it. Then that family has a continual source of milk for their children. They can sell the extra milk to make money. When the goat has babies, they give those babies to other members of their community, sharing the gift.

Heifer helps people become self-reliant.

As part of his fundraiser, he's giving away fabulous prizes, which will eventually include an autographed Advance Reading Copy of The Reawakened. (I've been saving a couple just for this purpose.) Stay tuned to find out more. The giveaways run through December 11, I believe.

Questions? Click here to read all of Patrick's Heifer International-related posts. Then go forth and give goats.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Veterans Day video tribute

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Germans signed the Armistice agreement ending one of our planet's greatest tragedies of all time: World War One. Naturally, it wasn't called that at the time--in fact, Woodrow Wilson declared it the "war to end all wars." It wasn't.

Here in the States we observe this anniversary with Veterans Day. In most of the British Commonwealth it's known as Remembrance Day. Australian folk singer Eric Bogle (whose concert Chris and I saw in Wilmington, DE, in 1993) wrote a song called "No Man's Land." Lots of bands have covered it, and most refer to it by the name The Fureys gave it, "The Green Fields of France."

I like Dropkick Murphys' version best, due to the use of pipes and drums, just as the song describes. Here's a video an American soldier put together to accompany the song, honoring the fallen. (Some of the images are also shown in Dropkick Murphys' official video, but I liked this one slightly better.)

Warning: you will cry. But the twenty million soldiers and civilians who died in that war deserve a few tears.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

AJ Menden contest winner, and life beyond deadline

The winner of a signed copy of AJ Menden's Phenomenal Girl 5 is...Jess! Congrats! Jess, send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com, and I'll pass it on to AJ. Thanks to everyone who commented, and especially to AJ for being a great guest!

I've spent the last few weeks doing nothing but writing, so I'll spend the next few weeks catching up on all the not-writing things in life. Like e-mail and housework and oh, I don't know, maybe a bit of promotion for that book of mine that just came out, The Reawakened.

Writing projects for the month include Jim's short story (tentatively titled "When the Music's Over") at least some of Noah's short story, and a proposal for more vampire books.

I'd also love to finish the four books I'm in the middle of reading. Oh, and sleep.

Good luck to all those doing NaNoWriMo! One of these years, I swear...

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Two chances to win the entire Aspect of Crow trilogy!

It's in! I finally finished polishing Bad to the Bone and sent it off last night. Which frees me up to tell you about two fantastic chances for you to win a complete set of Aspect of Crow books.

I have a fun new interview at Amberkatze's Book Blog. Amber wants you to take my Animal Spirit personality quiz and leave your results in the comments of the interview post. She'll draw a name on Sunday to win a signed trilogy coming directly from me (US residents only--sorry, it costs a bundle to mail three big books).

Amber gave the series awesome reviews here (Eyes of Crow), here (Voice of Crow), and here (The Reawakened).

Also, author Ann Aguirre is lucky enough to be on a sun-drenched vacation in Mexico (as opposed to her sun-drenched everyday life in Mexico). While she's gone, she's left a post offering an Aspect of Crow trilogy, courtesy of her, to one lucky commenter. Of course, I'll send autographed bookplates to the winner. This contest is open to anyone anywhere (because bookplates are cheap to mail)!

Now I have to go clean my house and catch up on approximately 3,478 e-mails. And eventually shower.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Songs to vote by

I took a half hour out of my busy revision schedule to make a cross-generational, cross-genre playlist to psych you up to vote. I figured it was the least I could do, seeing as I kinda fell off the voter registration nagging routine.

Below the playlist are some more words that are important.

Go to Vote411.org to find out all the information you need about where and when to vote and what you need to bring to the polls.

And please, even if you think your presidential candidate of choice is sure to win or lose, VOTE ANYWAY. Be part of the process. Do your sacred duty as an American.

Besides, the people running for Senator, Governor, House of Representatives, School Board, Sheriff, and Dogcatcher all need your vote. Not to mention the bajillion ballot questions up for consideration.

And if you think you might have to stand in a long line, consider bringing a brand-new, very thick, truly awesome book, perhaps a book that prompted one reviewer to say, "Never have I read a trilogy that exemplifies the spirit of freedom in so meaningful and poignant a way!"

If you don't believe me, listen to these people, like you did last time.

Happy Election Day.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Interview with Diana Pharoah Francis, author of the Crosspointe Chronicles

Another of my fellow SFNovelists, Diana Pharaoh Francis, is having a big release this week. I've heard phenomenal things about her work, so take a gander at her newest. I can't wait to delve into this series as soon as the deadline trolls release their death grip from my throat.

*ducks back into cave*

Diana Pharaoh Francis’s latest book, The Black Ship, is the second in her Crosspointe Chronicles series. It's a novel of adventure at sea, friendship, betrayal and magic, and will be released November 4th, 2008.

1) What was your inspiration for writing The Black Ship?

Well, there were a couple of things that led to writing this book. First, I meant for it to completely stand alone, so very little of the first book in the series, The Cipher, ends up in this book. A bit of it is there as backstory, but this book is really about Thorn and his big mouth and the trouble he gets into. At the same time, I wanted to tie into the unrest and political events that started showing up in The Cipher, but hopefully those flow naturally from Thorn's story. Probably most importantly, I wanted to get my characters out onto the Inland Sea because it is such a marvelously strange sea. It's a magical see where what was shallow a moment ago is now deep, where the currents shift in the blink of an eye, and it's filled with magic and monsters. Many ships don't survive. Exploring the sea, more than anything, is what pushed me to write this book about these characters. And once I met Thorn and Plusby and several others, I had to tell their stories.

2) What do you find most interesting about Thorn?

I’ve become very interested in flawed characters—in people who don’t always do things in their own best interests, or who are contradictory and sometimes dangerous to themselves. These flaws can be incredibly valuable, when you think about people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for others. Yet those flaws can be dangerous, too. Thorn fascinates me because he ends up in a place where he’s torn between doing one version of right and doing another and he doesn’t know which is the more right thing to do, but he can't do both. That and he’s snarky and sometimes rude and he was huge fun to write.

3) What is it about fantasy that attracts you?

I think it’s the possibility for real heroism, and that an individual can have an enormous impact on his or her world. That a person’s decisions matter to the larger world, and that honor is worth something, and so is sacrifice.

4) What sort of research did you do to write this book?

I did something incredibly bizarre. I set this book on a square-rigged clipper ship, even though I’d never been sailing. Ever. I didn’t know anything. So I did a lot of research on clipper ships, square-riggers, the commands that are used, the feeling of being on the sea, life aboard and so on and so forth. I went out to Washington to take a short cruise on The Lady Washington and asked a whole lot of questions. I read all sorts of sailing accounts and manuals and fiction about sailing. I looked for diagrams and slang, I looked for everything that might have anything to do with sailing anywhere. I watched The Deadliest Catch to see a cold, vicious ocean in action. The process was wonderful. I think that when people read this book that they’ll really feel like they are aboard a ship. At least I hope they get that.

5) Who are your favorite authors and books now and when you were growing up?

I have so many favorites. Wow. Well, early on I read the Narnia books over and over, and of course the Madeleine L’Engle books. But I remember that the books that really jolted me into reading broadly in fantasy were Zelazney’s Amber books. I still don’t know what it was about them that appealed so much to me at that time, but after that, I became an avid reader of fantasy, almost excluding anything else.

As for favorites now . . . I love Carol Berg and Robin McKinley. I’m a fan of Marjorie Liu, Anne Bishop and Guy Gavriel Kay. But really, I’m a voracious reader and I have so many favorites that I couldn’t begin to cover them here.

6) Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it? How did you get where you are now?

I have always been a storyteller, but I didn’t start writing until I got into college. Then I tried to write mainstream sorts of fictions. They were bad. My heart wasn’t invested in them. Eventually I began to write fantasy, which made me so much happier. As for how I got where I am now? Hmmmm. Where am I? Essentially I did some short stories and published a few of them, but I am really more a novel writer—short fiction doesn’t really come to me very often and it's uncomfortable to write, not like novels. So I worked on a novel, then another one, and then another one. At the same time, I was getting my MA and my Ph.D.

Then one day a friend (Jennifer Stevenson) asked if I’d like to do a novel in a week. I said . . . “wha…?” She explained that a novel in a week is when you take time off from life. Most people can carve out a single week of life from work, family, and other obligations and totally focus on writing. The idea is to write as much as you can during that time. When you’re done, you’ll know if you’ve got the beginnings of something (or maybe a complete draft if you’re really kicking butt on the writing), or you’ll know if it’s not worth pursuing. Either way, you’ve only lost a week to it.

So I did this, and found that I was really rocking on a novel I liked. It turned out to be Path of Fate, my first published novel. I did the submitting rounds and it was picked up by Roc.

7) What does a typical writing day look like for you?

There’s no such thing as typical. I’m still working full time, and I have a family with kids, and so I end up squeezing the writing in wherever and whenever I can. I’ve become a lot better about getting more accomplished in shorter bits of time, but really, I’m always scrambling to keep all the balls in the air and hoping none of them shatter if they fall.

8) Where do you write?

I usually write in my office. It’s a room in the upstairs of my 1917 house. It’s painted purple and has a bank of five windows that looks out over the front yard and lets in a lot of light. It’s got wall to wall books and my ‘desk’ is an old kitchen table from when I was growing up. It is about eight feet long and about five feet wide. It’s also piled with papers and books, my computer, printer and scanner. On the walls are swords, a battle ax, a munch of maps, and a bunch of pics. I also have two lava lamps, one shaped like a space ship.

9) What is hardest for you as a writer?

You know, it really all depends on the day. Like many writers, my ego is sometimes fragile so some days it’s just hard to believe that what I’m writing isn’t utter dreck. Then other days, it’s squeezing out time to write. And then maybe it’s getting through a particularly tricky scene, or figuring out how to fix a scene that just won’t work the way it is. The hardest thing changes every day.

10) This isn't your first book; tell us a little bit about what else is out there?

The Path books (Path of Fate, Path of Honor, Path of Blood) are traditional epic fantasy. The first focuses on Reisil and how she has to make a choice to do something she absolutely doesn’t want to do, even though everybody else thinks is a great honor. In the second book, she finds out that not everybody is what they seem to be, and that evil can be really seductive. In the third book, she finally comes into herself and must really embrace who she’s become.

The Cipher is the first of the Crosspointe Chronicles, and is about Lucy and Marten. They are both very flawed characters and must come to terms with their flaws. In the course of it, they do some pretty awful things, even though both want to be good peopel. I really like them both. This world is not your usual epic fantasy world and has a lot in common with Victorian England.

11) How do people find out more about you and your novels?

First, thanks everyone for hanging out with me. I appreciate it. To buy the books, head over here to Mysterious Galaxy, Barnes and Noble , or Amazon. For more about me, a taste of the books, or random useful information, go to my website. Here’s a link for my blog, Mad Libs.

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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 Amazon.com.



"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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