Friday, July 24, 2009

Two interviews and book giveaways

I think as of this morning, I'm finally caught up on sleep! Yay! I need the brain clarity, since Bring on the Night is due in a week (technically next Saturday), and I have a lot of plot work to do. Little things, like what the hell does the villain want?

Also, for the first time I am finding it a major inconvenience that the vampires can't go out during the day. The timeline for Bring on the Night is so tight, and events happen so quickly, it's hard to wait for sunset to get stuff done. But I'll work it out eventually; somehow I always do. (Of course, with every book comes the fear that this time the plot will kick my ass instead of the other way around.)

Anyway, today two blogs are interviewing me (luckily with mostly different questions), and each of them are giving away a signed copy of any of my books. Winner gets to choose from my vast library of published work. (OK, maybe not that vast.)

At the first one, Smexy Books asks you to answer the question, "Kick Ass Chick or TSTL?" Since TSTL stands for Too Stupid to Live, it seems kinda like a "Cake or Death?" question to me. But whatever. Just go leave a comment to enter.

Then over at Star-Crossed Romance, you can find out Ciara's all-time favorite song (it might surprise you) and a little bit more about my YA series. Leave a comment to enter to win any of my books, signed and personalized by me!

I might drop in next week if I have any major news (well, I have major news, but I'm sort of saving it for an awards round-up post next month), but otherwise I'll be trying to finish Bring on the Night. Wish me luck and much caffeine!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia release date and cyber-launch party!

Every few years, or maybe once a decade, I read a book that humbles and crumbles me, a book that cores my psyche with the jagged edge of a diamond drill. A book that reminds me why we write.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert is one of those books. If you read my blog, you know that Stephanie and I are friends, and we have the same editor, Jennifer Heddle. But I have a lot of writer friends, and while most of them thrill and entertain me with their stories, and I will happily plug their books on my blog when I get special enjoyment from them, this is a whole other realm of awe.

Ballads tells the stories of several teenage characters growing up outside Chicago in the 1990s, but the book centers around Kara, an intelligent, ordinary girl who escapes the pain of parental alienation, friendship betrayals, and abusive romances in ways that are sadly all too common.

Yet the telling of the stories is anything but ordinary. Ballads opens with Kara returning to her Oak Park home at age 22, fearing that the toxic environment she left behind will pull her back in. We learn that she left the area when she was 16 so she could survive and make something of herself after a heroin overdose. She encounters the man who helped her down that near-fatal path and left her to die.

How did she get here? Kara's story is told in flashback, interspersed with a series of "ballads," first-person pieces scribbled in a notebook that gets passed from friend to friend. In each of the stories I recognized little pieces of myself--not so much because I grew up in the suburbs, but because I'd once been a confused young woman figuring out who I was and where I belonged (still working on that one sometimes).

It takes a lot of guts to tangle with hard emotions such as grief, guilt, and anger to the extent needed to produce great fiction. It's easier to skim the surface or make a funny. Stephanie's book has given me the courage as a writer to dig deeper, punch harder, peel away more protective layers, even as the very thought of doing so brings tears to my eyes.

Anyway, I was lucky to receive an early ARC of Ballads, but now the world has the privilege of experiencing this book, too, because today is the release day!

Stephanie is holding a cyber-launch party (which started last Monday, her thirtieth birthday), featuring a month's worth of authors sharing their own personal ballads. Here's a little promo for it that shows some of the folks stopping by:

I (or possibly Shane) will be appearing there some time in the next month, and Stephanie will come 'round here on the same day for an interview, at which point I'll tell you more about this fantastic book. But you should definitely stop by her blog each day to check out all the great authors, artists and musicians. And win stuff!

Today Stephanie told her own ballad of how she came to write this incredible book. Oh, and you can also see her very first "vlog," her ballad of a birthday tattoo, along with a live reading from her book. She is incredibly sweet and real, as a writer and a person, so go check them out!

P.S.: I'm uploading photos from ALA and RWA one by one to my Twitpic page, and after I turn in my book next Friday I'll do a little montage here on the blog. Stories, I got stories!


Friday, July 10, 2009

WVMP #3 has a name

At ALA now (actually, I'm writing this before I leave, but let's pretend). When I return home more than a week from now, I have ten days to finish the third WVMP book, which is now officially titled....


after the song by The Police.

I am very jazzed that they let me keep my original choice for the title, as it fits the storyline even better than the titles of my other books.

Bring on the Night still has no official release date. I only know for sure that it will be 2010 and definitely not May, because that's when my teen fiction debut, Shade, will be released. Since publishers like to space an author's books at least a couple of months apart, I expect BotN to come out somewhere between July and September of next year.

I know, it's cruel to make readers wait more than a year between installments, but the good news is, your patience will be rewarded, because Book 4 (tentatively titled Lust for Life) will be released in Spring 2011 (I'm guessing February or March), thus giving you two WVMP books in about six months. Happy times!

This ramped-up publishing schedule means my writing schedule has also gotten busier, but I promise I won't forget my loyal blog readers (both of you). I have a fun event planned for this September to celebrate my five-year blog-iversary.

Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ALA/RWA schedule

I'm leaving tomorrow for ten days, for two conferences. Even though I'm in total stress mode, I am incredibly excited about these events!

The first one is in Chicago, and I'll get to hang out with one of my favorite writer friends, the brilliant and way cool Stephanie Kuehnert, who has a new amazing book coming out in a couple of weeks (I read an ARC last month--yes, I am a lucky dog). You'll be hearing more about her next week (the book, not her personally, unless she has something she wants me to share).

Then Sunday I fly back to DC for three days of behind-the-scenes tours of the FBI, State Department, Postal Inspectors, and CIA, with my mystery/suspense chapter of RWA, Kiss of Death. Oh, and then the other conference, most of which I will probably sleep through after that long week of excitement.

I will try my best to blog at least once a week (I have a couple posts loaded up in the queue), but if you want updates from the conferences, you'd be better off checking my Twitter page.

ALA (American Library Association National conference) schedule:

Sunday, July 12, 8:30am-10am, YALSA's Young Adult Coffee Klatch

Sunday, July 12, 1-2pm, signing/book giveaway at Simon & Schuster Booth #3326.

Both events are open to conference attendees only.

RWA (Romance Writers of America National conference) schedule:

Wednesday, July 15, 5:30-7, Readers for Life Literacy Autographing (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC--ALL PROCEEDS GO TO CHARITY)

Friday, July 17, 9:45am-11:15am, Pocket Books Signing (OPEN TO CONFERENCE ATTENDEES ONLY).

Also Thursday from 7-8 I'll be at the FF&P Gathering, picking up a PRISM award (first, second, or, most likely, third place) for Wicked Game in the Light Paranormal category. Then I'll be hopping off to the Pocket Books party. And Friday night, of course, will find me slamming the dance floor at the Harlequin party. Other than that, I'll probably be catching up on sleep or work.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'll be in the bar.

Hope to see you there!



This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

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“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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Jeri Smith-Ready

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

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