UPDATE DECEMBER 30: Thanks to everyone for their comments and for spreading the word! We reached 60 comments, so I donated an Earth Basket, which consists of bees/beekeeping equipment and a whole mess of tree seedlings. (For the same price I could've bought a trio of rabbits, but being the vegetarian, non-fur-wearing sort, I opted for this instead.)
You might remember last year (and if you do, you're way ahead of me) when I donated an ARC of The Reawakened to a charity auction held by author Patrick Rothfuss (which he's doing again this year) and encouraged you to donate to this fantastic cause that really makes a difference in people's lives.
This year all you have to do is leave some comments! One of my agent's fellow Curtis Brown agents, Nathan Bransford, is holding a challenge. For each comment left on that post, he'll donate $1 to Heifer International.
And I'm doing the same, donating $1 per comment here on this post for the first 120 unique commenters (i.e., one comment per person, not 120 from the same person).
Nathan's challenge lasts until 5PM Pacific today (8PM Eastern), and mine will go through 5PM eastern Wednesday, December 30.
This costs you nothing but a click and a few words. Here's what you can do:
--Leave a comment here (if you're drawing a blank on what to say, tell us your favorite farm animal). --Follow the link above to Nathan's blog and comment there. --Visit the other blogs listed at his post and leave comments there. --Spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and any other virtual or literal rooftop you have at your disposal.
Unlike my vampire DJs, I'm not stuck in time--musically, at least (let's not discuss my wardrobe--shoulder pads are coming back, right?).
I owe my contemporary awareness entirely to my Sirius satellite radio service. One of my player's features allows me to skip back to the beginning of a song and play it again. Maybe again and again. Maybe again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.
Most of the songs below were ones I fell in love with at first listen. For five of the nine, I'd never heard the band before. Nothing makes a music lover happier than that moment of discovery and infatuation. It gives us hope for the future, or at least the present.
These top 9 tunes are in chronological order rather than order of preference, although the last one is also my favorite. Everyone should go out (or stay in) and buy XX by XX. Show the recording industry that a truly original sound can succeed.
Below the playlist are some bonus videos and my rambly, amateur music appreciator thoughts.
1. Dead Confederate - "The Rat"
A bit of a cheat, since it actually came out in 2008. But it didn't start getting major play until early 2009. It's Nirvana meets R.E.M. You can hear the original song in all its grungy goodness on the playlist below. Here's a video of them doing it acoustically on a street corner in Amsterdam, courtesy of the Amsterdam Acoustic series:
Also technically released in late 2008, it started getting a lot of airplay in February or March. It's the only tune I've ever downloaded as a ring tone, before realizing I can never hear my phone ring in a crowded room unless it sounds like a freaking PHONE.
Click the link above to see the very cool animated official "Ghost Town" video (it won't let me embed it here).
3. Bouncing Souls - "Gasoline" (Jan)
This was the first of twelve singles released this year to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. I couldn't find a good video of it, so just listen to it on the playlist. I find it really captures the (dis)spirit of 2009, and of Generation Xers dragging our moshingly energetic self-loathing into middle age. I sing the chorus at maximum volume:
Sedate me with anything So I don't have to live with me Tell me, tell me that I'm free Kill me with everything Until there's nothing left of me Tell me, tell me that I'm free Give me some gasoline.
This one grew on me. It's off their Open Door EP, stuff that didn't fit on Narrow Stairs. They were right to leave this off--it's much more upbeat. The live performance video I linked to also features "Cath," one of the songs that totally fits the brilliant, somber, emotionally cohesive Narrow Stairs.
5. Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch"
This bass line could eat a horse. Listen to it on the playlist for best sound, then come back and space out to the video.
6. Cocktail Slippers - "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" (4.28)
When I first heard this on Little Steven's Underground Garage station*, I only caught the last, I'm not joking, twenty seconds. I proceeded to play those twenty seconds over and over (you can only rewind the portion of the song that's been playing since you tuned into that station--if you switch stations, the playback memory is wiped).
I later found out that Steven Van Zandt produced this record after hearing the Slippers' first album. So it has his Official Stamp of Cool in more ways than one. Playlist.com didn't have "St. Valentine's Massacre," only their more popular "Give it to Me," which also rocks.
*This channel alone makes Sirius a worthwhile addition to any music lover's life. Cool songs from every era. Real rock 'n' roll, with DJs who actually know their stuff. And where else can you hear a former E Street Band member and fake mobster spin records?
7. Green Day - "East Jesus Nowhere"
I'll talk about this amazing concert in my "Top 9 Moments of '09," but I had to share this live clip of Billie Joe Armstrong "saving" a child at their Chicago show (listen to the playlist for the full song). In the earliest performances of the song, he would just have the kids dance, but by this point, they were doing something much cooler:
8. The Raveonettes - "Last Dance"
When I heard the first single off the new CD by my favorite band (as of 2008's Lust Lust Lust), I wasn't overly impressed. It lacked the brain-blasting distortion I've been such a fan of lately. But I bought the CD anyway the day it came out (something I rarely do) and soon found myself singing this song all around the house. Here's a video of the Raveonettes performing it acoustically in their native Denmark:
9. XX - "Crystalised"
Last but first, my favorite song of the year. I was entranced the moment I heard it. It's rare that a new artist comes along that sounds completely different from anything that's come before. The vocals and instrumentation wind around each other in a jaw-dropping, mesmerizing way.
When I first heard them, their self-titled debut CD wasn't even available on iTunes, so I ordered the physical CD as an import from Amazon. I had to wait six weeks, because it sold out that fast. It was worth the wait.
And as a bonus, here's their Amsterdam Acoustic session.
and my favorite song on the CD, "Infinity" (not a real video, just audio with an image). It always makes me stop, pull out the laptop cooler to reduce the background hum, close my eyes, and just listen. It's so good it almost hurts.
Come back tomorrow for my Top 9 Books Read in 2009. Thanks for listening!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the SHADE anniversary ARC giveaway. I had a lot of awwwww moments reading about the special anniversaries you celebrate. And the lucky winner was...Carrie! Congrats!
The Class of 2K10 grad party for the Class of 2k9 concludes this week with one last multi-book giveaway. The contest will be open until midnight Saturday.
Now I have big news that I need you to help me spread. Shade will no longer be released on May 18 Its new release date is...
Two weeks sooner! Plans are for it to be available to be sold at the RT Booklovers Convention Book Fair (Columbus, OH, May 2), so that giant venue will be my first official signing as a YA author. YAY!
Of course, a lot of people already have it in their heads (and on their blogs/calendars) that it's coming out May 18. My fear (I have many fears, this is one of them) is that many readers won't look for it until May 18, by which point stores might have sold out and not reordered due to readers waiting until it's been out for two weeks to look for it (i.e., sales are meh). We want everyone to buy it as soon as it comes out (or sooner, via pre-order) so that it really makes a splash!
So if you see someone mention Shade with the old release date, do me a huuuuuge favor and politely let them know it's been moved up to...say it with me....
Thanks so much!
I'm now off to the internet-free coffee shop to start writing WVMP Book Four, tentatively titled Lust for Life. I'm due for some time off, but I figured I should use the momentum while I have it. Forward...write!
Yesterday I turned in the rewrite for Bring on the Night (WVMP Book #3 and sequel to Bad to the Bone). I spent the last seventeen days working 10-12-hours a day on it,* so I've been living (and unliving) with these vampires almost every waking moment since Thanksgiving.
To ease myself out of Sherwood and back into the bright, shiny, scary palce called "reality," my first post-Bring on the Night blog entry will be about...Bring on the Night.
Official release date: August 1, 2010. You can already pre-order it at Amazon. And check out the spiffy fake cover--much better than the old "No Image Available" option. (I haven't seen the cover art at all yet, but I'm sure it's cool.)
Bring on the Night will be released in recession-friendly mass market paperback. Speaking of which, Bad to the Bone will be reissued in mass market on February 22, with a Bring on the Night "teaser" first chapter that is no longer the first chapter (rewrites, you know).
What it's about: The usual WVMP gang of vampire DJs, picking up two-and-a-half years after the end of Bad to the Bone.
We've got a near-final version of the back cover copy. I'm particularly psyched about this one, because my editor and I wrote it ourselves.
WHAT’S BLOOD GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin seems to finally have it all: A steady job at WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll. A loving relationship with the idiosyncratic yet eternally hot DJ Shane McAllister. A vampire dog who never needs shots or a pooper-scooper. And after nine years, it looks like she might actually finish her bachelor’s degree!
But fate has other plans for Ciara. First she must fulfill her Faustian bargain with the Control, the paranormal paramilitary agency that does its best to keep vampires in line. Turns out the Control wants her for something other than her (nonexistent) ability to kick undead ass. Her anti-holy blood, perhaps? Ciara’s suspicions are confirmed when she’s assigned to a special ops division known as the Immanence Corps, run by the Control’s oldest vampire and filled with humans who claim to have special powers.
To a confirmed skeptic like Ciara, it sounds like a freak fest. But when a mysterious, fatal virus spreads through Sherwood—and corpses begin to rise from their graves—Ciara will not only get a crash-course in zombie-killing, but will be forced to put her faith—and even her life itself—in the hands of magic.
As part of my culture shock therapy, I spent last night putting together the Bring on the Night chapter title songs playlist. It's not final--I will definitely be changing a few in the copyedit stage.
1) Most of the songs fit the chapters better than in the two previous books. B y that I mean the lyrics and mood, as well as the title, should resonate with the story. This makes it more of a soundtrack than previous chapter title collections. They don't tell the story, but there's a bit of extra truth in each one.
2) No Nirvana. Shocker! Everything about this book is a little different from Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone, right down to the music. Instead of ending with a Nirvana song as usual, I chose to frame the book with Neil Young & Crazy Horse's two versions of "Hey Hey My My," Out of the Blue and Into the Black. Kurt Cobain quoted the line, "It's better to burn out than fade away" in his suicide note, so his spirit still haunts the soundtrack. (The song also includes the phrase "Rock 'n' roll can never die," one of the WVMP series taglines. Bonus! And there's also a line about Johnny Rotten, who sings the song "Rise" (with Public Image Ltd.), which comes a few chapters earlier. Self-referential bonus!)
3) More songs from this decade. By the time the book takes place (and comes out), the 00's will be over. And they'll have their very own DJ to represent them on WVMP.
So here it is! Enjoy trying to figure out the plot from the chapter titles. Or just enjoy the music.
Missing tunes (unavailable from Playlist.com): "How Many More Years," Howlin' Wolf "Help Me," Sonny Boy Williamson "Sugar and Spice," The Searchers Also, "Home of the Blues" should be Johnny Cash, and "All That Heaven Will Allow" should be Bruce Springsteen.
I hope to fix these holes by replacing the playlist with an iTunes iMix, as soon as I figure out how to do that. Definitely on my 2010 to-do list.
*Lest you scoff, thinking, "Pah, I stay at my desk until 7pm all the time," I don't mean I sit down to work and then get up ten hours later to spend a few hours leisure before I go to bed. I mean 10-12 hours as measured by a timer, which gets paused when I check e-mail, walk the dog, get food, take a bathroom break (or, more rarely, a shower). So a 12-hour day for me runs from 8am to midnight.
Before I forget (and while the link is still in my clipboard, before I go and copy something else and then have to copy it again, frustrated with my porous powers of attention), the class of 2k10's graduation party for the class of 2K9 continues today with another big book giveaway! My readers who love music might especially enjoy J.T. Dutton's Freaked, about a teenage Deadhead. Go forth and enter! Then come back.
Today marks one year since the auction for Shade, originally known as Generation Ghost. The climate in publishing was frosty, to say the least (paralyzed with fear, to say the most). Black Wednesday had occurred only five days before, when three major publishing houses announced major cutbacks. We were all pretty scared. (Come to think of it, we still are, but Black Wednesday was a heaping concentrated dose of ACK!.)
But Generation Ghost sold, on proposal, no less, to the publisher I'd dreamed of for years, since I'd first started reading YA: Simon Pulse. There was much rejoicing!
Even as it happened, I never realized that a year later I'd be sitting here with a box of Advance Review Copies (ARCs).
(Click for larger version.)
To celebrate the first anniversary of this unlikely occurrence, I'm doing a low-key giveaway of an a Shade ARC. This will probably be the only copy (other than the Blogtoberfest prize) to be given out before Christmas, because I still need to figure out how many ARCs are going where for what purposes. (I snagged myself a short extension on my Bring on the Night rewrite until next Monday, so I'm still slammed for time.)
So to enter to win a Shade ARC, tell me what odd anniversaries you celebrate. Something other than birthdays, deaths, weddings. First dates? Adopting a pet? The first time you saw Star Wars in the movie theatre?
Tedious Rules to keep my butt from being sued:
1. Contest open to U.S. residents only. This isn't because I'm cheap and don't want to pay international postage. It's because I'm trying to keep this contest legal and can only keep track of one country's laws at a time. Sorry!
2. Retail value: $0. ARCs can't be resold. But why would you want to?
3. Odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.
4. To enter, simply leave a comment. On Tuesday, December 15 at 11:59pm, a winner will be drawn using a random number generator. NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED TO ENTRIES. The winner is Carrie!
5. Names of winners will be posted in the comments of this post, and in the first post to appear after the drawing. Winners have one week to claim their prize by contacting me via e-mail at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com. If the winner does not contact me by that time, I will draw another name at random.
Coming soon to an earbud (or car speaker) near you...
I've been dying to spread this news ever since I found out, and now it's official. Audible has bought the audio rights to Shade and its 2011 sequel Shift and will make them into audio books!
I an insanely thrilled about this. This will be my first audio book, the first time I get to hear my words read by a professional (i.e., someone other than myself). Back when my daily commute was longer than a walk down the hall, I scarfed up audio books from the local library like crazy. So to have my own works in this format will be pretty amazing.
Audible is the world's largest publisher of downloadable books, and they have a special relationship (not sure if that's the technical term) with iTunes to make their books easily found and downloaded from there, as well as on Amazon, etc.
Also, the audio books will be distributed in "physical copy" by Brilliance. (CDs, I assume, or whatever newfangled technology is being used--back in my day it was books on tape, and we got whatever mangled, abridged, chopped up version was available, and we liked it! Except when Cassette #10 out of 12 was all garbled, or when our favorite book ever (The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub) had a narrator who read every sentence like THIS. So that the emphasis was on the very last WORD. No matter how it was WRITTEN. Until we wanted to throw it out the WINDOW. But we couldn't because it belonged to the LIBRARY. So we got very ANGRY. And are now venting publicly about it for the first TIME. And it feels GOOD. (See how annoying that is?--I mean, see how annoying that IS?)
So if you prefer to hold the Shade audio book in your hands, you'll be able to do that, too. Just don't try to turn the pages.
I don't have an official release date yet, but I would presume the audio books will come out at the same time or shortly after the release of the hardcover.
everyone say it with me...
MAY 18, 2010
Okay, it's back to the rewrite dungeon for me. Have a great weekend!
I'm super excited about this week's Girlfriend Cyber Circuit guest, Debbie Rigaud, for a couple of reasons.
1) It's her first novel! Go Debbie! 2) It's a Simon Pulse Romantic Comedy, which I love (full disclosure here: Pulse is one of my publishers, but the pure fact is, I love rom coms and am eternally grateful that someone is publishing them). They also publish Jennifer Echols, one of my favorite authors and a recent Blogtober-guest.
Debbie's novel Perfect Shot was just released yesterday. Here's what it's about:
London Abram’s first love is volleyball, so why does she enter an online modeling competition? Answer: superhottie Brent St. John. London spots Brent signing in contestants at a store, and she gets in line simply to say hi. But she never dreams she’ll make it into the competition!
London’s now up against fourteen hungry fashionistas willing to do whatever it takes to win. All she wants to win is Brent’s heart…but the money prize couldn’t hurt. If London plays this right, she can win the contest, the boy, and the cash. GAME ON!
A few more notable facts about Perfect Shot:
• First book in the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies series to feature an African-American protagonist • First book in the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies series to be written by an African-American • Features a multicultural cast of characters in a contemporary setting
And now, my sometimes silly questions for Debbie:
1. 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?
London, the main character in PERFECT SHOT. She approaches life with a courage and determination that I admire. These are traits that were largely shaped on the volleyball court. I believe that a lot of athletes are go-getters. Being sporty encourages London to act on her instincts and be unafraid of confrontation or competition. To me, that's very cool.
2. On the flip side, which of your characters would you most like to bring to life in our world (as a friend or a little bit more ;-) ?
London's best friend Pam. I would be a devotee of Pam?s style blog. Lord knows I could a personal stylist.
4. 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)?
"Ghost Whisperer." That show gets on my nerves, yet I still watch it. I vowed to stop watching after Melinda's (Jennifer Love Hewitt) husband was killed off. The show truly jumped the shark at that point, yet there I remain in front of the tube when it comes on.
5. What's your earliest memory?
I was in a moving truck with my mother and godmother, traveling from our home in Brooklyn to our new house in East Orange, NJ. I was around two years old.
6. Do you have any phobias?
As far as a quirky phobia, I?d say it?s fear of falling. I took a crazy spill on sidewalk ice one winter and that freaked me out. At least my cousin, who was with me at the time, made sure I was okay before he started cracking up.
Debbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for magazines. She’s interviewed celebs, politicians, social figures and “real” girls. Her wide-ranging articles have appeared in YSB, Entertainment Weekly, Seventeen, The Source, Trace, Twist, Essence, J-14, Heart & Soul, Inside TV, CosmoGIRL!, and Vibe Vixen.
Her first work of YA fiction, a novella titled “Double Act,” was featured in the anthology HALLWAY DIARIES/Kimani Tru. PERFECT SHOT/Simon & Schuster, her first standalone book, was released December 1, 2009.
Debbie’s extensive experience with young readers has led her to staff editor positions at Seventeen and Twist and to freelance editing/writing work for seventeen.com, CosmoGIRL!, American Eagle Outfitters and publishing company Just Us Books. She’s written advice columns, inspiring real-life stories, entertainment reports and countless personality quizzes for this audience.
Beyond YA, Debbie recently became a finalist in Bermuda Dramatist Society’s annual playwright contest. “All in the Same Boat,” her short play, was selected by professional New York playwrights and produced on stage in Bermuda.
Poking my head out of the Deadline Cave for a few minutes:
As I might have mentioned, I’m a member of the Class of 2K10, a group of 2010 debut young adult and middle-grade authors. Even though I have six published novels as an adult author (writing for adults, that is, not that I’m a true adult myself, because most people would dispute that), they were nice enough to let me in, since Shadewill be my first YA novel.
Anyway, the class is holding a huge graduation party for its predecessor (named, not surprisingly, the class of 2K9) all month. We're giving away a copy of each debut novel by this talented group of authors. Visit our blog for details.
In case you're feeling too lazy to click over to our site, check out our trailer, and maybe you'll change your mind:
For a shortcut to a list to all our books and release dates (with convenient purchase links--ha!), check out our Amazon Listmania compilation.
I have another Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit tour coming up tomorrow, and then some thrilling Shade news on Thursday, so stay tuned!
But for now, back to my regularly scheduled hermitage.