Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The page 123 meme

When Jackie Kessler e-mailed me to announce she'd tagged me with a meme, I thought, she doesn't just write books about demons--she is a demon.

But then it turned out to be an easy one. So I'll spare Jackie the holy water Super Soaker.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you’ve posted your three sentences.

So the nearest book is Jana Oliver's Virtual Evil, the second in her superb time travel/Jack the Ripper/shapeshifter mystery trilogy that started with Sojourn, which won approximately 10,435 awards last year. Here's the sample--which works most perfectly, as serendipity would have it:

"You did say that the perfect murder is one in which the blood is on someone else's hands," Satyr went on. "You have often stated that you felt he presented a threat to your future plans. This will remove the sergeant from our concerns."
Yikes! I haven't gotten to that part yet. Must go read...

But first...the tagging:

1. Ann Aguirre
2. Victoria Dahl
3. Stephanie Kuehnert
4. Jana Oliver
5. Cynthia Eden

Speaking of Cynthia, check out her interview yesterday, where you can win one of two free signed books, which both sound amazing. I'm jealous I can't win them.

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Now playing: Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
via FoxyTunes

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interview with Cynthia Eden, author of HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT

Welcome back to our Author Interview series! Wow, it's been a few weeks--are you thirsty for the dish on new authors, or craving the thrill of maybe winning a free book? (Hint: the correct answer starts with a "y.")

Today we have Cynthia Eden, whose paranormal romance suspense novel, Hotter After Midnight (Kensington), comes out today. Simply Romance Reviews gave it an A+ (an A+!!) and called it, "witty, suspenseful and steamy enough to fog up your windows." It features an empathic psychologist whose patient roster is made up of Others (vampires, demons, etc.); and a detective who's a Shifter, a being who can transform from a human into an animal.

Because she's twice as sweet as any other author, Cynthia will be giving away two prizes today, to two different commenters. A signed copy of Hotter Than Midnight, of course, and a signed copy of When He Was Bad, an anthology she shares with Shelley Laurenston. When He Was Bad doesn't even come out until May 27, so you can get a braggably early copy.

Q. At last count, you write for three different publishers: Kensington, Avon, and Red Sage. What's your secret to juggling all your deadlines and other obligations? Did you secretly clone yourself?

Cynthia: Oh, a clone would be awesome! I could get her to do all the housework. J Right now, things are pretty easy for me. The primary writing obligations that I have are for Kensington Brava. I was recently offered another three-book contract from them, so they’re keeping me busy for the time being. (And I love to be kept busy.) I will have another release from Red Sage later this year—and I’m really looking forward to that Secrets anthology.

For my writing schedule, I stick to my ten pages a day rule. Writing ten pages generally allows me to finish up a novel rough draft in about 40 days—then I can take a few weeks for re-reading and editing.

You recently gave a workshop at a writer's conference on "Keeping the 'Normal' in Your Paranormal Story." Care to share with us a tip or two on giving human flaws to non-human characters?

This was my first workshop, and I had a blast! Here’s a bit about redeeming the anti-hero in paranormal romances:

Redeeming the anti-hero. When the villain becomes the hero, you have to explain his past actions. Why did the vampire go on a brutal feeding spree? Was the transformation into a vampire so painful that he had no choice? You should help the reader understand his actions. Forgive them, to a certain extent. Readers won’t love a hero who is evil—show the goodness and the struggle, or the reasons for the dark behavior—and the readers will feel that sympathy and understanding for the anti-hero.

(If anyone is interested, I posted my workshop handouts on my website. Feel free to visit for all the tips you want!)

On your bio, you list Dracula, Lois Lane, Buffy and Wolverine as four of your favorite fictional characters. Which two would you like to see fight in a cage match? Who would win?

Dracula and Wolverine. I’d pay big money to see that one. And, as much as I love Dracula, in the end, I’m pretty sure Wolverine would take him down.

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?

Dr. Emily Drake from Hotter After Midnight. She’d be an easy choice for me. J I feel like Emily has an advantage in the paranormal world—since her empathic powers let her pick up on the feelings of the Other, she’s generally a step ahead of most paranormal beings. I’d sure like to be a step ahead.

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 ;-) ?

Another fast answer for me: Cain Lawson from “Wicked Ways” (in When He Was Bad). Sexy, protective, and loyal to the core—to me, he’s perfect hero material and I’d love to see him in the real world.

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

I’d love to be Buffy. Come on—she was strong, tough, and she had some fantastic friends. (Well, she did when Willow wasn’t going all evil on her.) And she also had the perk that was Spike. How could I not want to deal with the world as Buffy?

Now, if I had the chance to bring one character to life…I’d choose Brendan Fraser’s character (Rick O’Connell) from the Mummy movies. The guy was a fabulous hero—and he was always up for a little adventure.

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

Edgar Allan Poe. I loved that man’s writing. I became hooked after "The Tell-Tale Heart. " Oh, but that beating of the old man’s heart. Late at night, I could almost hear that thumping. Because Poe was that good—his stories snuck under my skin and stayed with me for days after I’d read them.

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

I’d create much, much faster response times. I hate waiting to hear back on a submission! Sure, generally, I’m a patient gal, but when it comes to my story—the patience disappears, fast.

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

Oh, yes, I remember this one…during mating, jaguars in the wild “can copulate up to 100 times a day.” Did you know that? I didn’t, until I started researching jaguars for my novella in When He Was Bad. Busy animals, those jaguars.

What's your earliest memory?

I remember my father carrying me outside of my house in the middle of Hurricane Fredrick. I was bundled in a blanket so the pelting rain wouldn’t hurt me. (Okay, in the interest of total honesty—not really the middle of the hurricane, but right before the storm came ashore.) My parents had decided we’d better had to my grandmother’s for better protection. My first storm, but certainly not the last. The howl of the wind has become a familiar sound for me.

Do you have any phobias?

I’m terrified of snakes. Terrified! Yet I’m also curiously drawn to them. If I have the opportunity to watch them on TV—yes, I’ll sit for hours watching. I’ll pet them at zoos. But, let me see one in the wild (AKA my backyard) and you’ll see a woman scream with a fury to rival Jamie Lee Curtis.

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

Oh, I don’t usually go too berserk. I love it when folks misuse words—I write down those “mistakes” and use them later in books to make my characters seem a little more authentic.

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)?

Okay, this is sad but…I loved the movie The Scorpion King. I know, I know—it was cheesy as all hell—but I am a fan of the cheese. And of the Rock.

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

Take my son to the beach and build sandcastles. Around lunch time, we’d break for a chocolate ice cream treat (hmm—probably not sounding like the healthiest mother, huh?), and then we’d head back for kite-flying and wave-watching.

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

I’d ask Jayne Ann Krentz a question. Ms. Krentz, I’m dying to know…where did you get the inspiration for Shield’s Lady? (I love that book. She wrote it as Amanda Glass and I almost missed that story because of the name change.)

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

Romantic suspense. Okay, that might not be “totally different” since my Kensington stories are pretty much paranormal suspense, but I do think I’d like to eventually try my hand at straight romantic suspense. And maybe even historicals. Back in the day…I taught history and I’ve always been tempted by that romance sub-genre.

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

Right now, I’m working on another novel for Kensington—this one is about a demon, Niol. (Readers will be introduced to him in Hotter After Midnight). This is the last story in my “Midnight” series and then I’ll start on a new paranormal series—one about paranormal bounty hunters.

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

Have you gotten your quota of psychics, wolf shifters, demons and vampires for the month? If you haven’t, then you should check out the world of the Monster Doctor (Dr. Emily Drake) in HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT.

(I realize the stranger in question would probably look at me like I was a crazy woman, but that’s okay.)

* * * *

Give Cynthia a comment or a question, or tell us which animal you wish you could "shift" into, down there in the comments before 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 5. I'll draw a name and announce the winner next Tuesday morning.

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

***I recommend against putting your e-mail in the comments, since that brings on spam. HOWEVER, if you don't leave a way for me to find you, you must stay subscribed to the comments or come back next Tuesday to see if you won.***

Good luck!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Hit the Street!


WVMP’s real-life radio and musician counterparts have ‘street teams’ to spread the word about their awesomeness. They hand out CDs, bumper stickers, buttons, and flyers for the next concert/event. They tell all their friends and even their enemies.

If you’re excited about Wicked Game (May 13!) and want to tell the world, then I love you. I love you so much that I want to invite you to join my inner circle, my very own Street Team.

You don't have to stand on a street corner and shout about the book (though you're welcome to--the weather in mid-May is generally very pleasant, after all). Here are some other options:
  • Offer bookmarks to your local booksellers and librarians
  • Post the book cover on your website or MySpace page
  • Blog about Wicked Game during release week
  • Write a review
  • Send a (non-spammy) e-mail to friends and family members you think would enjoy Wicked Game
  • Recruit subscribers to my newsletter
  • Any other fun ideas I come up with at 2:30 in the morning
IMPORTANT NOTE: There's no obligation to take part in any particular activity--just do whatever you find fun.

All Street Team members will get a special exclusive autographed Street Team bookplate (see above) for their copy of Wicked Game, as well as the warm feeling that comes from being part of something meaningful.

(Did I just say that last part with a straight face? You’ll never know.)

ALSO, I'll show my appreciation to those who do the most each month by giving away extra goodies, like WVMP swag, free books by authors I adore, CDs (including a few limited edition "soundtracks" to Wicked Game), and very small ponies.

OK, maybe not the ponies. But wouldn't it be cool to have a pony the size of a kitten? They should work on that.

If you'd like to join this exclusive club, just drop me a line at jeri@jerismithready.com with the subject line ‘Street Team’ and say, ‘Sign me up!’

See you on the Street!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just you and me, ChickLitGurrl...

I'm kicking off my Blog Tour with an interview at ChickLitGurrl's blog. Find out how I got the idea for Wicked Game, which three songs would be on the soundtrack to my life, and my single biggest piece of advice for writers.

Excuse me while I go follow that advice....

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

RavenCon this weekend


I'm heading out of town again tomorrow morning, this time for RavenCon 2008. This is the convention's third year, but it's been getting rave reviews from guests and attendees alike. The Author Guest of Honor this year is C.S. Friedman; the Artist Guest, Stephen Hickman; and Fan GoH is Filthy Pierre.

Here's where I'll be:

Friday, 6PM: REINVENTING THE PARANORMAL, with J. Jagi Lamplighter and Jean Marie Ward (moderator). The romance authors are doing it. Find out how they develop new stories for the same old ghost, werewolf, vampire, shape shifter or alien by blending genres.

Friday, 9PM: WRITING THE PERFECT BLURB, with Jana Oliver, David Coe (mod), and Edmund Schubert. How does one go about writing that perfect blurb for their book to that coveted editor or agent?

Saturday, 12 noon: BLOGGING FOR THE MODERN-DAY WRITER, with Mike Kabango, Larry Holderfield, Valerie Griswold-Ford, and Jean Marie Ward (mod). Do you blog? How do blogs help new or established writers? What do blogging authors write about and how does it affect their “regular” writing?

Saturday, 3PM: USING PODCASTING FOR PROMOTION, with Rich Sigfrit, Stephen Euin Cobb, Tom Rockwell, and Mur Lafferty (mod). Join our panelists as they discuss how they use podcasting to promote their works.

Saturday, 5PM: KOFFEEKLATSCH, with just me. I'll do a reading, and then sign books or chat with anyone about anything.

Saturday, 7-10PM: 'TIME AND TUNES' LAUNCH PARTY!!! with my roommates Jana Oliver and Jean Marie Ward. Music from every era, a WVMP Radio cake, and drinks aplenty! For the room number, look for flyers posted, well, everywhere.

Sunday, 9AM (good God, nine a.m.??!!): URBAN FANTASY 101, with Jana Oliver, CJ Henderson, L Jagi Lamplighter, Jean Marie Ward. (I'll be moderating, which means I can only ask and not answer questions, which is good, because did you see what time this thing is?) Find out why urban fantasy is hot these days and learn all about demon hunting and bashing. Why are there werewolves, vampires and ghosts in a world that should be primarily the fey?

So stop by the Crowne Plaza at 6531 Broad Street, in Richmond, VA this Friday through Sunday. I guarantee you won't leaving quothing, "Nevermore!"

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Now playing: (Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads
via FoxyTunes

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day is his Birthday

As an amateur-turned-professional-turned-amateur environmentalist, I tend not to celebrate (or even notice) this Gaia-honoring holiday. To me, every day is Earth Day.

However, every day is not Misha's birthday. The only cat I've ever had whose birthday I knew for sure (we got him from a coworker whose harlot kitty came home knocked up one night), Misha turns Lucky 13 today.

To join me in celebrating the Day of the Guy, please enjoy this instructive video, "An Engineer's Guide to Cats." It even contains a potential solution to global warming at the end, thus fulfilling my holiday obligation.




Since his favorite thing in the world is a new pair of (human) shoes, I might need to make a trip to DSW. Anything to keep the boy happy.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Convention reports on their way!

Just got home from Jersey, where my friends Rob and Kathy graciously put me up for the last two nights. Their home was approximately 6,785,320 times better than the Hilton. (Not that I'm suggesting you should all go stay at their house.)

I'll try to write up some complete sentences about the RT Booklovers Convention and New York Comic Con tomorrow. Until then, hear more about RT at the blogs of Gennita Low, Rachel Vincent, and Jenna Black. I'm sure there are many more. If I can find a video of the vampire ball (see GL's Saturday post for a description), I'll be sure to link to it. I'm having trouble believing it myself.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

RT report(ish)

Can't write. Brain dead.

For a little taste of what our "work-in-progress" hotel experience has been, visit this entry of my roommate Gennita Low.

That sentence took me three minutes to write.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

ARCs for Charity results and me this week

Thanks a pazillion to all the folks who donated to yesterday's Walk MS for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. We had perfect weather--cool but not cold, partly cloudy, not a raindrop in sight. People came with strollers, walkers, wheelchairs and dogs. Big teams with their own logos and T-shirts, and little teams like ours. The top team at Towson yesterday raised over $11,000, but we were equally proud of our $725.


(UPDATE:
Latest totals: Towson walk, $212,576
Maryland walks so far: over $1 Million!)

I wish I could've given an ARC of Wicked Game to everyone who donated, but alas, the little buggers are gone or otherwise spoken for (see below for one reason why). So congrats to Donna R. who won the ARC, and also to runners up Cathy M., Stephanie S., and Susan B., to whom I'm sending a signed copy of Voice of Crow as a token of my extreme appreciation.

Three people suggested VH1's Save the Music Foundation to receive 10% of author royalties from Wicked Game, so congrats to Livi J., Jackie M. and Nina D., who all won an ARC! Save the Music supports music programs in public schools, programs which have faced enormous cutbacks, particularly in the last several years (don't get me started on "No Child Left Behind").

I'll be traveling this week to RT and NY Comic Con (see Item #4 in the last post for details). I usually promise to blog about the conventions I attend, and then I either don't or I do so inadequately, so this time I promise not to blog about them. Edited to Add: Which means I'll undoubtedly blog about them all week.

I hope to see you there!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

The post with something for everyone

And you are...?

That's probably what you're thinking, since I haven't blogged (first I typed "blooged," which shows you how out of practice I am) in ten days. This morning I turned in the rewrite for The Reawakened (yes, you will cry buckets, but not until November) and found out I'll be getting the line edits back in ten days, before I've had time to forget what it's all about.

Line edits, basically, are when the editor gets a little more nitpicky than the first go-around (where he or she discusses major issues, such as character and plot and I dunno, maybe the fact that the manuscript is twenty-five thousand words too long, just as a fr'instance). The author makes changes as quickly as possible and sends back the manuscript so it can go to the copyeditor.

For both of my publishers, the line edits are done on paper, which means I write each change on the manuscript, and then the editor (or her lovely assistant) types in my changes. Some publishers are moving toward electronic edits, which I imagine involve Microsoft Word's comment and track changes functions (anyone with electronic edits, feel free to enlighten).

---

So, the latest updates:

1. There's one more day to enter the ARCs for charity contest. Please consider donating to the MS Walk. Even a fiver would help me make my fundraising goal and more important, help treat and one day cure this devastating disease.

2. The May issue of Romantic Times (on newsstands now!) has a feature on me and Wicked Game. My name is on the front cover 'n' everything. You can read an excerpt of RT's and other reviews on the Wicked Game home page. I won't post each review on my blog, because if I'm going to be self-aggrandizing (and oh yes, I plan to be), it should be in a less boring way than linking to reviews. Like linking to interviews, of which there shall be so many, I'll probably have to start lying just to keep everyone entertained.

3. WVMP Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll swag will be available very soon. As in, days.

4. I'll be at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention next week Tuesday through Saturday around 2. I'm on the Urban Fantasy 101 panel on Friday at 11am, with fellow authors Kelley Armstrong, Keri Arthur, Richelle Mead, and Jeanne C. Stein, as well as Paula Guran, editor of Juno Books. I'll also be signing copies of Eyes of Crow and Voice of Crow and sneak previews of Wicked Game at the Book Fair on Saturday from 11-2. If you see me at the convention (hint: try the bar), stop and ask for a "Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll" or "Feed the Need" button.

5. Then I'll be at the New York Comic Con on Sunday, April 20, signing pre-publication copies of Wicked Game at the Simon & Schuster booth from 12 to 1.

***This is the first time this novel will be available to the public, and it will be FREE!***

So if you want a free signed book, stop by the S&S booth as close to noon as possible, before we run out. I'll stick around until 1:00 and sign cover flats, your arm, or your forehead--or just to chat.

Speaking of the real book...here it is! They came in the mail yesterday.


That's Misha (Mikhail Kristanovich), galvanized by the greatness that is Wicked Game (or possibly by the guy honking his horn in the next door neighbors' driveway--geez, what is his deal? Just go to the door, for cryin' out loud!)

I think that's it for now. As you can tell, I'm a bit fried. Tomorrow I'm thrilled to be doing an interview with Fast Forward TV. Wish me luck, and a complete lack of stuttering stupidity!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ARCs for Charity, future guests, and other news

Congrats to Ruth Schaller, who just won a signed copy of Rachel Vincent's Rogue! Everyone else, stop crying and go buy the book.

Coming up later this month we have Cynthia Eden, author of Hotter After Midnight, then in May there'll be Jenna Black (Hungers of the Heart); in early June, Nancy Haddock (La Vida Vampire, which just came out today) and in late June, Stephanie Kuehnert (I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone).


ARCs FOR CHARITY

I still have a few Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) of Wicked Game, and it’s time I started using them for good instead of evil:

1. MS Walk Donations
I’m participating in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society 5K Walk on Sunday, April 13. If you donate to my team, I’ll put you in a drawing to win an ARC. It’ll be like a raffle: donate $5 and get 5 chances; donate $25 and get 25 chances (not to mention a warm feeling). Please send whatever you can to help overcome this devastating disease.

Deadline for entry: April 12

2. Royalty Donation
I donate ten percent of author royalties to a designated charity related to each of my books. For EYES OF CROW it’s Conservation International, and for VOICE OF CROW it’s the Wounded Warrior Project.

Send an e-mail to jeri@jerismithready.com and suggest a music-related charity that should receive 10% of author royalties from Wicked Game. If I choose your suggestion, you’ll win an ARC! And again: warm feeling.

Deadline for entry: April 12

Note: I’m looking for a charity related to rock ‘n’ roll that does some good in the world. Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians Village in New Orleans is a great example, but that project is almost complete (yay!).

Here's an update on my Lucky Thirteen Giveaway:

February 12: Wicked Game cover flat -- Winner: Bonnie W.
February 19: Wicked Game Advance Readers Copy --Winner: Regina R.
February 26: Wicked Game cover flat -- Winner: Betsy L.
March 4: Amazon.com gift card ($10) -- Winner: Tracy P.
March 11: Wicked Game cover flat -- Winner: Melissa F.
March 18: iTunes gift card ($15) -- Winner: Amy B.
March 25: Wicked Game cover flat -- Winner: Tami B.
April 1: Booksense gift card ($20) -- Winner: Jill M.
April 8: WVMP Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll T-shirt
April 15: Barnes & Noble gift card ($25)
April 22: WVMP Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll coffee mug
April 29: signed copy of Wicked Game
May 6: signed copy of Wicked Game


I'm going into Deep Cave Mode between now and Friday, when The Reawakened is due. But on Saturday, April 5, I'll be hosting the specialest guest of all.

Just one hint: the post won't go up until after dark. He's a daysleeper.

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NEW RELEASE!

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**

More about THIS SIDE OF SALVATION

Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com.

NOW AVAILABLE!

Shattered

"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

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