Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Urban fantasy worldbuilding & last chance to win BTTB ARC

Whew! What a week. Finally got back from RT last night after a loooong train ride. I'll try to do a recap on the blog here, but in the meantime you can check out my Twitter comments, or just look at the pictures on Twitpic. I have a few more to upload today.

No time to rest, because I'm guest blogging at Lynda Hilburn's Paranormality blog on worldbuilding in urban fantasy. I discuss the two major types of UF worldbuilding--the kind where the paranormal elements are secret (like in Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone), and the kind where they've become a part of the world and create a sort of parallel universe to the one we know (like in my young adult series).

This is the first time I've discussed the YA series in any detail since the initial sale announcement, so if you're curious or want to see the kinds of questions I answer when I'm building my worlds, stop on by. One lucky commenter will win an ARC of Bad to the Bone. And then they'll all be gone.

The contest runs until tomorrow night. Hope to see you there!

Now playing: Counting Crows - Colorblind
via FoxyTunes

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guest blog (and giveaway!) by Ann Aguirre, author of BLUE DIABLO

Hooray, the Guest Blogging Karma has come back to me in the form of one of my favorite authors, who also happens to be a good friend. Ann Aguirre's blog is one of the few I still take the time to read on a regular basis, as she's consistently thoughtful, funny, and sharp. (Not that other bloggers aren't, mind you.)

Blue Diablo cover

Anyway, her latest release, Blue Diablo, starts a new urban fantasy series starring (and named after) the heroine Corine Solomon.

And when I say "new urban fantasy series" I don't just mean "this is the first one" (although I do mean that). I mean that if you're looking for something fresh and new, look no further. Blue Diablo features a heroine with a unique power (psychometry, the ability to read things about a person by handling an object they once touched), in a unique setting (Mexico, which I hear has been in the news a bit lately), and best of all, a unique style.

Like many urban fantasy heroines, Corine's been damaged. She's had a lot taken away from her by the intolerant bastards of the world. And while she's built a shell to protect herself, she's maintained a core of compassion that comes across in her poignant narrative. This is no wise-cracking, chip-on-her-shoulder urban fantasy heroine.

My husband observed that I said, "Hm" out loud several times as I was reading the other night, which usually means I've come across a perfect way of saying something. (Of course, there's always a touch of envy, like, "Damn, I wish I'd thought of that beautiful phrase. Now that way of describing things will never be mine.") Then, just when I least expect it, Corine makes a wry, often self-deprecating observation that had me laughing out loud.

Anyway, you're probably wondering what the story's about. Corine is hiding out in Mexico City, making a living as a pawn shop owner, when her ex-flame shows up needing her gift. (No, not that gift, although he'd definitely like some of that, too, bow chicka bow.) This time, it's not for just another contract job. This time, it's personal. His mother, a woman Corine loved dearly, has been captured--by whom or why, no one knows.

Road trip! Chance and Corine head north and pick up a charming ensemble cast of people who feel as real as my own friends. And that's where this guest blog picks up:

On secondary characters

Thanks for having me here, Jeri.

I hear a lot about how urban fantasy is populated with superwomen who don´t have any female friends, unless the other woman is (a) jealous of the heroine, (b) evil, (c) lost in the heroine´s shadow or (d) secretly in love with the heroine.

I'm here to say that´s not always the case, at least not in my Corine Solomon series. I made sure I had more than one strong female character, apart from the heroine, and I think they all stand in their own right. First, there´s Eva, who is happily married, and guess what else? She´s gorgeous. I think that´s noteworthy because she´s actually more attractive than the heroine, but there´s no envy between them. Then there´s Jeannie, also happily married. And we can´t forget Twila, who is...mysterious. It's best to read the book to learn more.

As for the men, I talk about them elsewhere, so you´ll want to check out my post at http://cubiesconfections.blogspot.com on April 20th. (That´s next Monday.)

Moving on...I thought it was important to include some healthy relationships in the series, so everything is not completely dysfunctional. Chuch and Eva were a lot of fun to write. They had a realism I enjoyed, a gritty back and forth, but also some sweet tenderness in the way they relate to one another. I like layers and hints and secret histories. I enjoy giving the reader a sense that they don´t know everything, even about my supporting characters, so they feel compelled to keep reading. And like any puzzle, the pieces come together slowly, over the course of many books.

In books two and three, you find out more about Corine and Chance, as well as Chuch and Eva. In book four, you´ll find out more about Booke. I´m very proud of this series and I can´t wait to discuss it with you!

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have or comment on the book. If you haven´t read it, I´m giving away a copy to a random commenter. So as not to discourage people who already read it from participating, if you win (and you already have Blue D) you can pick out any other book that also costs $6.99. Ready, set, go!

Please leave a comment below to enter, a question for Ann, or a note about your favorite secondary characters. I'll draw a name at random at 11:59pm eastern Friday. So show some love, and win a book!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Photo contest winner who made my day

Kerri N. braved the hostile bouncers friendly sales associates at Target to bring us this photo of Wicked Game in the very special (to me, anyway) wilds of a non-bookstore venue.

Right under Charlaine Harris, which is pretty cool, considering a quote from the review by the lovely Ms. Harris is right on Wicked Game's cover. It's like subliminal or something.

For her efforts, Kerri won an Advance Review Copy of Bad to the Bone. Congrats!

I've also gotten a report of the book appearing in at least one Walmart. Many Borders and Waldens are carrying it. Plus, you can still get the trade paperback at most Barnes & Noble stores, if you want to create a matching set with the upcoming Bad to the Bone.

(Just got word that Bad to the Bone will be reprinted in mass market paperback in March 2010. But that's a long time to wait, right? Absolutely.)

If you spy the book in a grocery store, drugstore, airport book stand, or another place, I'd love to know (no pictures necessary--I swear I'll believe you). It's fun to see where it lands when it leaves the safety of the warehouse.

I am almost out of Bad to the Bone ARCs (my cat is happy to have the empty boxes to play in). The last one will be given out on Monday, and of course I shall post here when the guest blog is up.

There are a few giveaways still open. Here's a continuously updated list of all current contests.

Have a good weekend!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Widgets, playlists, and contest update

Check out my site's new Street Team section, where you can grab widgets and playlists for Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone.

NOTE: You do not have to be part of the Street Team to get a widget or the playlist codes. I just put them in that section to make all the cool stuff easy for the ST to find.

Though this leg of the blog tour is winding down, there's still plenty of ARC-givin'-away to be had.

Three more days at Bitten by Books to win an iPod Shuffle or one of two $25 Visa gift cards. I guest-blogged about how to create a unique vampire in what some consider an "oversaturated market."

Another week right here in the Spread-the-Word contest. Post one of my cool widgets to tell people about the mass market release of Wicked Game and put yourself in a raffle for a gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

Another week to read Shane's story, comment, and enter to win a unique, completely non-eBayable prize: the marked-up manuscript for the story's first draft. Details here.

One more day at In Bed With Books. Interview with Shane McAllister, the hero of Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone.

Whew! There'll be one final chance to win an ARC next week, with my final guest blog before May coming next Monday at Lynda Hilburn's Paranormality, where I'll discuss my world-building methods.

Now, it's time for me to get back to actual writing, so that next year I have something to give away on another blog tour.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Shane's story: "Last Request"

I’ve posted the fourth story in my “Days the Music Died”/how-the-DJs-became-vampires series. Shane’s, not surprisingly, is the longest and most complex story of all. If you’ve read Wicked Game, you know who turns him. Here’s how they met. As always, it includes a short playlist of the music that appears in the story. Listen to it before, during, or after, and enjoy!

By no small coincidence, today is the fourteenth anniversary of his big change. You can follow Shane on Twitter, or visit his page at WVMPradio.com, where you can listen to his new-and-improved playlist, a sample of the sort of music he plays on his show.

BONUS GIVEAWAY: Everyone who leaves a comment on Shane’s story (either here or by e-mailing me), will be put into a drawing to win a very special prize, one that can’t be bought in stores, not even on eBay:

I’ll send the winner the marked-up, scribbled-on manuscript of the story’s first draft. You can see where I messed up, how I (hopefully) fixed it, and even a few arguments with myself over word choice, characterization, and plot.

NOTE: this will be a Xeroxed copy, because the original manuscript came down with a severe case of raspberry jelly. I have no idea how that happened.

The drawing will take place at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time on April 12.

Regina’s and Noah’s stories will appear later, but I have to work around my ever-tightening book deadlines, so hang in there!

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MS Walk report

This year's Multiple Sclerosis Walk in Frederick, MD, was even better than last year's, in every way. First, thanks a million to everyone who donated. Fourteen people gave a total of $450 on my behalf, bringing our team total to $715, which my friend said was near the top of the fundraising list at today's walk!

The weather was gorgeous despite the high winds. The route took us through the park in Frederick and part of the prettiest sections in town. Plus, they fed us very well--bagels, coffee, italian ice, ice cream, pizza, pasta, and salad. Last year the crowds at the Towson walk were so huge we never got to eat. Sadness.

After the Walk, we meandered through downtown Frederick and did some shopping. Yes, I shopped. I even bought something for myself that wasn't food or an office supply (a cool little bag/purse just big enough for Fang, my new netbook--technically useful/tax-deductible but also very stylish).

Last but not least, I drew a name from all my donors to win a Bad to the Bone ARC, and the winner is...PiaVeleno!

Thanks again to everyone for your support. Tonight I shall sleep the sleep of happy exhaustion.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Guest blog and penultimate BAD TO THE BONE ARC giveaway

Dropping in real quick to let you know I'm guest blogging at The Book Girl today and throughout the weekend. We're talking about "quirky" characters in books, movies, and TV.

One lucky commenter will win his or her choice of a signed copy of Wicked Game or a signed Advance Review Copy of Bad to the Bone.

Gotta go get a good night's sleep now for tomorrow's MS Walk. Thanks to your amazing generosity, I'm now up to $375, a 50% increase over last year's donations! You rock! If you'd like to donate and be entered into a drawing for a Bad to the Bone ARC, you have through tomorrow to do so, and then I'll draw a name. The bigger the donation, the more chances you get.

I'll try to give a report on the walk tomorrow night, assuming I can still breathe.

Now playing: Anders Parker - Oh Monkeywrench
via FoxyTunes

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

More widgets and ARC for Charity update

MS Walk

First, the important stuff. Remember a couple weeks ago when I mentioned I was participating in the Multiple Sclerosis Walk this Saturday, April 4? And I offered to do a drawing from the folks who donated?

This year, I've raised $50, and so far my only donors are 1) my mom, and 2) one of my original Street Team members, both of whom already have an ARC.

Which is great news for you! If you go to my team page and give a small donation, say five dollars, you have a pretty good shot at winning. Plus you'll be helping to fight a devastating disease. My friend who captains the team lost his mom to MS, so it would mean a lot to him if we could get some extra help. Last year I raised $250 from the ARC contest for Wicked Game, and he was blown away by the generosity of strangers (well, strangers to him, and to me as well, in many cases).

Second I have a few more Wicked Game widgets for the Spread-the-Word contest, in which you can win a bookstore gift card and a Bad to the Bone ARC. These are nice and skinny, so they'll fit into a Blogger sidebar. Again, just click on the "Share" button and follow the easy-peasy instructions.


More widgets to come, including for Bad to the Bone!

And don't forget the big iPod Shuffle/Visa Gift Card giveaway over at Bitten by Books. Go comment and be a winnah!

Now playing: The Strokes - Hard to Explain
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Win an iPod Shuffle or Visa gift cards at Bitten by Books!

As I mentioned earlier (I think), I'm guest-blogging at Bitten by Books today on how to create a unique vampire. Is it possible these days to come up with something new in this subgenre?

Yes. Yes it is. Find out why, and enter to win one of those fancy newfangled second-generation iPod Shuffles, the kind that will tell you, in a pleasant robotic voice, which song is playing at the press of a button.

Sweet, huh? It's smaller than even my stubby little hand. Runner-up prizes are two $25 Visa gift cards, which you can spend anywhere.

So stop by and chat!

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Wicked Game Mini-Me version (and giant BTTB giveaway)!

This week marks a big milestone--I have a book published in mass market format! This pocket-size, wallet-friendly version of Wicked Game is a dream come true for me, because I want to reach LOTS of readers.

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you might already own (or have borrowed) the trade paperback version of Wicked Game. But I need your help in getting out the word to folks who haven't heard of it, or who heard of it but prefer to read books in mass market format.

And so...here's my giant giveaway. It's actually in two parts, with a Bad to the Bone ARC for each, and a special extra prize for the second one.

1) Photograph Wicked Game on the shelves of a non-bookstore venue--somewhere like Target, Walmart, a drugstore or grocery store. Post the photo or the link to your photo in the comments here, or send the link (no attachments, please please please) to jeri@jerismithready.com. I'll draw a name at random from the folks who send me photos, and one will win a BTTB ARC.

Deadline: April 8

2) Spread the word about the Wicked Game mass market release! Here's a handy-dandy widget you can put on your blog or MySpace, Facebook, etc. Just click the lower right-hand corner where it says "Share" and follow the easy instructions.

Or, if you like something a little more provocative:

(Bad to the Bone widgets coming soon!)

If you've reviewed Wicked Game in the past, please link to your review. If you didn't review it, please link to this review by Charlaine Harris, or any one of the other lovely reviews on the Wicked Game page.

Then send me the link, either as a comment to this post, or in an e-mail to jeri@jerismithready.com, to enter the drawing.

To qualify, each post must contain 2 out of 3 of the following:

1. Book cover
2. Link for purchase
3. Link to a review (yours or someone else's)

The widget already contains items 1 and 2, but if you prefer not to use the widget, that's cool, as long as your post has two of those elements. Here are some purchase links for various online booksellers:

1. A gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice. Amazon, B&N, Powell's, or the indie bookstore down the street (assuming they offer gift certificates).

The amount of the gift card depends on how many people enter. If 25 people enter, it'll be worth $25. If 100 people enter, it'll be worth $100. Like a raffle. So if you feel lucky, tell your friends to enter, too. Sweeten the pot!

2. And of course, an autographed ARC of Bad to the Bone.

Deadline: April 12

EDITED TO ADD: If you already have a BTTB ARC, you are still eligible for the gift card, so please enter. In the event the name of an ARC-possessing person wins the gift card, I'll draw a second name for the ARC.

Now fly, my magical messengers, fly! Report back to me, and reap yer rewards. Together, with or without widgets, we shall rule the world.

Now playing: Nada Surf - Inside Of Love
via FoxyTunes

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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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