Monday, August 31, 2009

Win Wicked Game & see the kitten!

Actually, you don't have to do one to do the other. That's why this is a great country.

Jocelynn Drake's fabulous ongoing book giveaway contest continues this week with Wicked Game. The contest runs through Saturday, then Sunday she'll announce the winner post an interview with me. All you have to do is comment at her contest post to enter.

Got that? OK, now you may see the kitten (click for larger, cuter version):

Editor kitteh edits. (That's a red pen if you can't tell.) on Twitpic

Now playing: Great Lake Swimmers - Various Stages

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First the forest, then the trees

This blog post started off as a brief hey-this-is-what's-new-with me post, and turned into a whole essay on the the different kinds of edits. This is why I have trouble finding time to blog--you cannot shut me up.

I turned in my rewrite of Shade on Monday. On Friday, my editor will give me her line edits, and the final version will go to the copyeditor on September 9.

What are line edits, you ask? (Let's pretend you asked, so that I don't look pretentious.) There are usually two stages to an editor's actual editorial work on a book. The first one is called...hmm, I don't know what it's called. Let's call it the Global Edit, because that sounds very impressive and sort of humanitarian. The Global EditTM tackles the Big Issues, such as:

-- Character X feels underdeveloped and pointless to the story; maybe s/he can be combined with another character to serve the same purpose? I mean, does the protagonist really need TWO drama-riddled, arachnophobic, Vespa-riding best friends? Hmm?
-- Subplot Y fails to be resolved. We never do find out who made those crop circles in the shape of Dick Cheney's head.
-- The pacing of Chapters 5-9 was so slow, I sold them to a pharmaceutical company as a powerful anesthesia agent (patent pending).

So the writer gets the Global Edit and spends at least a few weeks (God willing) doing a rewrite. For all of my books from Voice of Crow through Bad to the Bone, this stage involved giant overhauls to the plot and characters and took about two months each.

For Shade, this major rewrite wasn't necessary, and here's why: A month before it was due, I gave the oh-so-rough draft to a pair of beta readers who should be awarded medals of valor. It gave me the chance to see the big-picture problems with it, which I fixed to the best of my ability before turning it in to my editor at Simon Pulse (Annette Pollert) on June 1.

Anyway, then the writer submits the rewritten version to her editor (which I did this Monday). Sometimes the editor sends back this version with "line edits." At this stage, the editor flags specific details in the writing--clunky dialogue, weak descriptions, or other Things-That-Make-Her-Go-Eww. Usually he or she won't correct things like grammar or spelling--that's the copyeditor's job.

So if the Global Edit is the forest, the Line Edit is the trees. Books are made of trees, which come from forests, so...there.

Keep in mind that not every editor works this way. Some will combine the global edit (you're used to the term now, so we're switching to lower case) with the line edit. My editor at Pocket, Jen Heddle, does this. The lovely part is that I can then ignore half of her line edits because they apply to scenes that I've axed. Efficient (for me, at least)! She also does a second line edit on the new version, but it's combined with the copyeditor's review. So that manuscript will have notes for me in two different handwritings and colors. Pretty!

As for copyediting, we'll leave that for another post. I hope this has been an enlightening glimpse inside my little corner of the publishing process. As you can see, building the perfect book has many steps, several of which involve colored pencils.

Now playing: The Distillers - Coral Fang
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour

Last week I was thrilled to receive an invitation to join phenomenal authors Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, and Alyson Noel on part of their Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in September 2010. After I stopped cartwheeling, I said yes.

What makes Smart Chicks different from other multi-author tours? Well, for starters, it's run by the authors, not by a publisher or publicist (not that there's anything wrong with those--I'll take one, pretty please, any time *winsome smile*). That's why we can announce it now, before all the details are set in stone.

Not only that, but readers get a chance to have a say in what they want from a tour. Readings? Signings? Q&A? Photo ops? Swimming with authors dressed as dolphins? We're even taking suggestions on where we stop. So if you live in a small city that has yet to receive an author visit--or, say, a second Dairy Queen--come ask us to stop by!

All the information and discussion forums can be found at You can read even more about it at Melissa Marr's blog.

As you can probably see from the current roster, all of us write young adult paranormal, though many also write an adult series or two.

Aaaaaand, speaking of which, my revisions to Shade are due on Monday, so I better get back to that! But I shall leave you with a cute pic of our new foster kitty, Twinkle, who got spayed yesterday, so no more mommy duty for her!

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book giveaway & upcoming signing

Sorry, not at the same time.

But today and tomorrow you can comment at the blog of phenomenal NY Times bestselling urban fantasy author Jocelynn Drake to win a signed copy of Bad to the Bone. Go forth!

Next Saturday I'll be at the Waldenbooks at the Lebanon Valley Mall in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Not just me, and not just signing (not that there's anything wrong with just me just signing): from 10-11am, I'll be on a discussion panel on How to Get Published with fellow authors Megan Hart, Mindy Klasky, Savannah Russe, and Maria V. Snyder.

Then from 11am to 4pm I'll be signing, along with the above four authors and many others who write for all ages in all genres (quick note: if you want to see Megan, come before noon).

Twenty percent of all the day's proceeds go to benefit the Lebanon Library. How cool is that?

Hope to see you there!

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Monday, August 03, 2009

The Ballad of Shane McAllister

I'm back! Bring on the Night is finished and turned in. Forks sticking out of it and everything. I am very happy with how it's turned out so far (realizing, of course, that I am in for the usual massive rewrite). For the second book in a row, I came up with an ending that changed almost everything I thought was true about its sequel. All part of the adventure, right?

Anyway, appearing today at Stephanie Kuehnert's blog, "Life, Words, & Rock 'n' Roll," is the hero of my WVMP Radio urban fantasy series, vampire DJ Shane McAllister (why I feel like I need to keep introducing him to you is beyond me. But you might be new, so hi!).

Shane is sharing his "ballad," a story of a pivotal point in his life and the music that formed the background, or, in his case, the foreground. It's all part of Stephanie's cyber-launch party celebrating the release of her amazing new novel, Ballads of Suburbia (which I talked about a few weeks ago).

Shane discusses how seeing Purple Rain changed his life, and not in the way he planned. If you leave a comment at Stephanie's blog, you can be entered to win a choice of Wicked Game, Bad to the Bone (signed, of course), or $20 worth of WVMP merchandise (new stuff added recently, including dog T-shirts and "Feed the Need" baby bibs).

Only three weeks until my next deadline (revisions for Shade), and loads of e-mail, etc., to catch up on before I go all hermit again. We should be getting our first foster cat either this week or next, so I'll have fun stories about her. In the meantime, go visit Twinkle's page and say, "Aww!"

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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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