Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wicked Game is a PRISM finalist!

Wicked Game made the finals for the 2009 PRISM award, given by the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter (FF&P) of Romance Writers of America.

Wicked Game finaled in the Light Paranormal category. I am thrilled to be nominated with two very funny books, and because they are so good, I predict I shall bring home my third 3rd-place PRISM certificate (after Eyes of Crow and Voice of Crow in the Fantasy category).

And then...with three sets of 3, I shall achieve divinity. Or Nirvana. Or at least a free drink and some lovely hors d'oeuvres.

Here are all the 2009 PRISM finalists, in alphabetical order within each category. Giant happy congrats to everyone!:

Begin official announcement:

>>>>
Dark Paranormal
Immortals: The Redeeming by Jennifer Ashley
Hotter After Midnight by Cynthia Eden
Mona Lisa Craving by Sunny

Erotica
A Mermaid’s Kiss by Joey W. Hill
Carnal Desires by Crystal Jordan
Siren Singing by Isabo Kelly

Fantasy
The Dragon Master by Jennifer Ashley w/a Allyson James
Dragonborn by Jade Lee
King of Sword & Sky by C.L. Wilson

Futuristic
Fallen by Claire Delacroix
Moonstruck by Susan Grant
Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair

Light Paranormal
La Vida Vampire by Nancy Haddock
The Trouble with Moonlight by Donna MacMeans
Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready (holy flying weasels, that's my book!)

Novella
“The Spacetime Pool” by Catherine Asaro
“Dark Nest” by Leanna Renee Hieber
“Kung Fu Shoes!” in These Boots were Made for Stomping by Jade Lee

Time Travel
Twist by Colby Hodge
Madman’s Dance by Jana G. Oliver
A Sexy Time of It by Cara Summers

Young Adult
Cave of Terror by Amber Dawn Bell
CHOSEN: A House of Night Novel by P.C. Cast
Sleepless by Terri Clark

Category winners and rankings, as well as the coveted Prism Statue Award*, will be announced on July 16, 2009 in Washington D.C. at RWA® National and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter at The Gathering.
>>>

End official announcement. Commencing cartwheels.


*this gorgeous little pyramid, which yes, I totally covet

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Friday, May 22, 2009

News on the YA front

In the last few weeks, things have been falling into place for my teen fiction urban fantasy series, making it feel like it might really be real!

I mentioned most of this in my last newsletter, but here are some more details:

The first book, Shade, will be released in hardcover from Simon Pulse on May 15, 2010 (that date might shift forward or back a smidge, but basically: a year from now). Shade will be rereleased a year later in paperback to coincide with the hardcover edition of Book Two, Shift.

I am thrilled with the titles. The series will just be known as the Shade books (a la Twilight, Vampire Academy, Uglies, all of which are simply named after the first book in the series). Since "shade" is another word for ghost (with more ominous connotations), and because Aura faces many choices with no simple right-or-wrong answers, I feel like the title works on many levels.

But the books will have at least two more titles, in different languages, because my brilliant foreign rights agent Dave Barbor has been very busy, even before the book is officially completed (gulp! No pressure, right?). These deals were announced last night in Publisher's Marketplace:


FOREIGN RIGHTS: CHILDREN'S
Brazilian Portuguese rights to Jeri Smith-Ready's SHADE and SHIFT, to Ana Lima at La Galera, in a pre-empt [EDITED TO ADD: at the Bologna Book Fair--my agent tells me this is important because not a lot of deals actually go down at the Fair itself], **** by Dave Barbor at Curtis Brown.

FOREIGN RIGHTS: CHILDREN'S
German rights in Jeri Smith-Ready's SHADE and SHIFT, formerly known as GENERATION GHOST, to Susanne Stark at Bertelsmann, in a pre-empt [EDITED TO ADD: at the Bologna Book Fair], **** by Antonia Fritz at The Fritz Agency on behalf of Dave Barbor at Curtis Brown.


**** means I've redacted the size of the deals, because I feel weird talking about money.

Speaking of Shade, I need to go put in several hours' work on it before heading off to Balticon for a panel. Yay for local cons I don't have to fly to!

Further speaking of Shade, it's due June 1 (a week from Monday), so you might not hear from me too much between now and then. Since it's a holiday week, maybe no one will notice if I sneak off. Shhhh.....

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Witchy Chicks guest blog & last BTTB giveaway (probably)

I'm guest-blogging over at Witchy Chicks today, about escapism in urban fantasy versus traditional fantasy, riffing off my world-building post from a few weeks ago.

Come comment to win a signed copy of that book that just came out. You know the one. (badtothebone) Even if you already have a copy, come comment so that my friends over there will think I'm cool.

Also, because I'm what in high school we used to call a dorkus maximus, I forgot to include the link to yesterday's Women Who Rock interview with Ciara. Ms. Griffin herself will be available to answer questions all week, and therein also lies a chance to win a signed copy of (badtothebone).

Hope to see you there, or at Balticon this weekend! If not, enjoy your long weekend (if you're American, and if not, enjoy your regular-size weekend).

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two chances to win Bad to the Bone!

There's a fun excerpt from Bad to the Bone over at Book Roast today, where you can enter to win a signed copy of said book by reading about how Ciara met Dexter the vampire dog and answering a fun question. It's a great site, with book giveaways most days of the week. The contest runs today only, so getcherself over there and say hi.

Speaking of the vivacious and loquacious Ciara Griffin, she was interviewed by one of my favorite authors and people, Stephanie Kuehnert (who wrote last year's I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone (click that link for my review) and whose upcoming novel, Ballads of Suburbia, I just started and it's somehow even BETTER than her first).

Stephanie has a regular feature called Women Who Rock Wednesday, where she interviews authors, musicians, and other fabulous females. I think Ciara is the first person she's interviewed who doesn't actually exist (not that you can tell by her Twitter account).

Anyway, go make Ciara feel special. Not that she doesn't already.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Bad to the Bone playlists & thoughts on punk rock

Today would have been the fifty-eighth birthday of Jeffrey Ross Hyman, better known as Joey Ramone, had the world not lost him to lymphoma in 2001. (By the way, if you're in New York City, there's a Birthday Bash for Joey tonight at the Filmore--click on that link for details.)

I bring up The Ramones to highlight an aspect of Bad to the Bone I haven't discussed much, what with all the attention on vampires and dogs and, well, vampire dogs.

The music.

Like Wicked Game, Bad to the Bone is steeped in rock 'n' roll. It plays an integral part, not only for the characters' internal wellness, but in the plot itself. Songs are used to send messages, including a life-saving one, when our heroine Ciara is in the worst jeopardy.

(Speaking of music, before I forget, Shane McAllister will be live-tweeting the rebroadcast of his "Whatever" radio show tonight from 6-9pm Eastern in honor of Bad to the Bone's release. Stop by if you want to see what he plays and what he says about it.)

After completing the playlist (the songs that actually appear in the book, not the songs I listened to while writing it), I realized that nearly every era/subgenre of punk rock was represented:

  • Classic (The Stooges, and the Sex Pistols on the Chapter Title playlist)
  • Reggae Hardcore (Bad Brains)
  • DC Hardcore (Minor Threat)
  • Cowpunk (Meat Puppets)
  • Riot Grrl (L7, Bikini Kill)
  • Emo-core (Thursday)
  • Punk-inspired Grunge (Nirvana, Hole, Garbage)

Of course, every other kind of rock (blues, psychedelic, goth, etc. ) is also represented, and the Chapter Title playlist skews much more mainstream (there's even a disco song and a Plain White Ts cover of "Do You Hear What I Hear?").

Here are the playlists, for your release day enjoyment and beyond. If you'd like to put them on your own page, go to the playlist page and simply click on "Get code for your own site" at the bottom of each playlist.

BAD TO THE BONE Playlist ("Soundtrack")


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones




BAD TO THE BONE Chapter Title Playlist


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones



Why I Love Punk Rock

Despite my harmless exterior (seriously, no one ever looked LESS punk on the outside, and I am completely incapable of changing this), I'm a pretty angry person. I don't know why. I've had a good life. No major traumas beyond the usual. Maybe it's brain chemistry.

Or maybe it's because when I was a teenager it became obvious that there are plenty of things in this world to be pissed about. Things that pop stars wouldn't sing about, like dictators and domestic violence. Things like rape and global warming and the systematic disempowerment of the poor and middle class. Things like--okay, I'll stop. Point made.

But it's not just the socio-political elements of punk that I love. I love its sound, the lack of pretension, the straightforward making of noise for the making of noise.

Like Shane from Bad to the Bone, I have musical skeletons from high school. For him, it was heavy metal hair bands; for me, it was progressive rock, or "art rock." I would actually measure a song's worth not by how much it moved me viscerally or emotionally, but by how many key and tempo changes it had.

(I won't list the bands I loved then that I hate now--I'm much less willing to offend than Shane is--but one of them worships Ayn Rand, and the rest had members who went on to become partners in the law firm of Anderson Bruford Wakeman & Howe.)

What I don't love about punk is the scene, the cliqueishness, the pervading sense of judgment over whether you're "punk enough." I wouldn't last a minute in a hardcore club like Bad to the Bone's Outlander, because I'd be judged based on what I wear and how well I carried the 'tude. Since I'm only punk on the inside (where I keep it warm and safe), I'd be a total failure.

But that's okay. All by my little self I jam to new and new-ish bands like Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Bouncing Souls, NOFX, and Rise Against. I got all giddy over the new Green Day release last week (and oh please don't start the Green-Day-isn't-real-punk argument).

Frankly, I fret over the future of punk under an Obama administration. Not that there are no problems left to get mad about, but there's more a sense of everyone seriously trying to solve them in a mature, reasoned manner. Most people, I think, are willing to pitch in and figure a way out of our messes, rather than simply raging about them.

The Rock Against Bush CDs brought a lot of exposure to many of this decade's biggest punk bands. The Iraq War is our generation's Vietnam, but the personifications of that debacle (Bush and Cheney) are gone (okay, just Bush is gone--Cheney is on all the Sunday talk shows for some reason). It would take a truly bizarre turn of events to engender a Rock Against Obama compilation CD.

But punk has "endured" Democratic administrations before. During the nineties, after the long, punk-nurturing Reagan/Bush/Thatcher years, the genre turned towards pop (Green Day, Blink 182) and towards the more internal, personal stylings of emo (Dashboard Confessional, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World). So maybe all is not lost. ;-)

Enough musing. I hope you enjoy Bad to the Bone (which by the way comes out today). Drop me a line and let me know what you think, okay?

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Balticon schedule

Once again I'll be hanging out in good ol' Hunt Valley, Maryland on Memorial Day weekend at one of the best regional sf/f conventions in the country (as described by those "in the know").

Balticon's Guests of Honor this year include:

Author: Charles Stross
Artist: Kurt Miller
Music/Filk: Mary Crowell
Special Guest: Scott Sigler
Ghost of Honor: Edgar Allen Poe
2008 Compton Crook Award Winner: Mark L. Van Name

Here's the complete Pocket Schedule (PDF version).

My personal whereabouts are as follows:

Friday, May 22:
4pm: I Shot the Sheriff on the First Page (Hooking the Reader) with Mark L. Van Name, Joshua Palmatier, Elaine Stiles, and Gail Z. Martin

Saturday, May 23:
4pm, Signing (main lobby)
8pm, Are the Editor and Copyeditor the Writer's Enemies? With Ally Peltier, David J. Williams, Joshua Palmatier, and David Sherman

Sunday, May 24
3-4pm, Reading (from Bad to the Bone, The Reawakened, and maybe even Shade)

Hope to see you there!

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Freaky Friday at Bitten by Books

I'm doing the Freaky Friday feature this week at Bitten By Books. As you might imagine, things get a little odd:

The apocalypse must be nigh, because not only are dogs and cats living together, they’re now interviewing each other! Dexter, the canine vampire hero from Jeri Smith-Ready’s Bad to the Bone will sit down (or maybe lie down if he gets tired) with his feline friend Antoine. They’ll discuss what it’s like to live with adventure-prone humans (the living and the undead), the best ways to beg for supper, and which end of a dead rodent to save for last.

So hop on over and ask questions of Dexter, Antoine, or any of the human (living or undead) WVMP gang. One lucky winner will get an autographed set of Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone, and another commenter will win a $25.00 gift card to PetSmart or Petco (winner’s choice).

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spread the Bad Word

You gotta help me, baby
I can't do it all by myself.
--"Help Me," Sonny Boy Williamson

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm hard at work finishing the first in my young adult urban fantasy series (due June 1). This means I don't have as much time and energy as I'd like to promote the release of Bad to the Bone.

That's where you come in. I'm holding another Spread-the Word contest. The first one worked so well, the mass market of Wicked Game has gone back for a second printing, thus proving that you all rock!

Here's a handy-dandy Bad to the Bone 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 need something a little smaller:



Or, my favorite, the hella-dramatic SKYSCRAPER!



You can find more widgets of all sizes for both WVMP books. When the official release date passes Tuesday, my awesome webmaster/widget-maker/husband will remove the countdown clocks from those widgets that have them, and the widget on your page will automatically update. It's like magic or somethin'.

After you've posted it, send me the link, either as a comment to this post, or in an e-mail to jeri@jerismithready.com, to enter the drawing.

If you prefer not to use the widget, you can simply post the cover and a link to your favorite bookstore. Here are some purchase links for various online booksellers:
Prizes:

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! (The winner of the last Spread-the-Word contest got a $50 Amazon gift certificate. Let's see if we can beat that record!)

AND...

2. Any item from the WVMP Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll store, up to a $25 value. I am told that more items will be added by the end of the contest period, including plus-size shirts, doggie T-shirts, and Feed the Need baby bibs.

Deadline: May 31

Thanks a million for your support and enthusiasm. Now go be BAD!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bad to the Bone events

I'm feeling strangely zen about the release of Bad to the Bone, maybe because I still don't know whether it officially comes out Saturday or next Tuesday. (Regardless, it's already shipping from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.)

Or maybe because I'm completely absorbed in writing the first in my YA series, more big news of which I'll have on Friday.

Or maybe I've matured to the point where I realize that I've done everything I can to write a good book, and the rest will just have to take care of itself. Shyeah, right.

A few tidbits on Bad to the Bone's release:

1. It was blurbed by the lovely Joyce Ann on Publishers Weekly's Beyond Her Book blog this morning.

2. I'll be signing copies of it for the first time at Borders in Winchester, VA, this Saturday, 2-4pm. All my other books should be on sale there as well.

3. I'm doing the Freaky Friday feature this week at Bitten By Books:

The apocalypse must be nigh, because not only are dogs and cats living together, they’re now interviewing each other! Dexter, the canine vampire hero from Jeri Smith-Ready’s Bad to the Bone will sit down (or maybe lie down if he gets tired) with his feline friend Antoine. They’ll discuss what it’s like to live with adventure-prone humans (the living and the undead), the best ways to beg for supper, and which end of a dead rodent to save for last.

As an added bonus Jeri is offering up a couple of great prizes! One Autographed set of Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone plus a 2nd prize for another lucky reader. A $25.00 gift card to PetSmart or Petco (winner’s choice). Contest is open to readers worldwide!

4. My quarterly newsletter will be going out this week, and two subscribers will win signed copies of guess which book? Signup boxes are on every page of my website.

5. I'll have another Spread-the-Word contest beginning tomorrow and running until the end of the month. The helpful person who won the last contest got a $50 Amazon gift certificate. Not bad, eh? I could definitely use some help getting the word out about Bad to the Bone, because my next book is due June 1. Ack!

And with that, it's back to work.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Last day on the Island

Winner announced, and I'm back on the Island, this time with Shane McAllister doing my dirty work.

Also, you have one more day to enter to win a signed copy of Maria V. Snyder's Storm Glass.

That's all. Off to write. Bye!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Another day on the island

I'll be at a book event most of the day today, but you can visit a version of me (the version who wrote my guest blog post last night) over at Desert Island Keepers.

Today I'm discussing Dexter, the canine hero of Bad to the Bone. Go learn some of his basic stats (hint: his batting average sucks) and enter to win a pair of signed WVMP Radio books (that would be Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone). Tell us about your pets!


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Monday, May 04, 2009

Husband of author tells all, in a Desert Island Keepers guest blog

They keep pullin' me back in! I was the debut guest author blogger last year at what was the shiny new Desert Island Keepers blog, a place for all things reading and movie-watching and beefcake-photos-looking-at. It was a ton of fun, so I invited myself back (I'm aggressive that way) as part of this year's Blog Whore Tour 2.0.

Today my real-life hero* Christian Ready is blogging about what it's like to be married to a writer. Some of it might surprise you, unless you're also married to a writer, in which case you will nod, and perhaps even shed a tear in sympathy.

Tomorrow I'll be blogging about Dexter, the new canine vampire hero of Bad to the Bone. Shane McAllister, the human vampire hero of the WVMP Radio series, might also stop in to chat.

Everyone who comments on today's and tomorrow's posts gets a chance to win a signed set of Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone (or a substitute book if you already have Wicked Game).

While I'm there, Maria V. Snyder is here, guest blogging and interviewing about her new release STORM GLASS, and giving away a signed copy to one very lucky commenter on Wednesday night.

So there. Between the three of us, you have your Monday morning reading. Enjoy your coffee, tea, pineal gland juice, whatever gets you moving and shaking. See you on the Island!


*and I mean HERO, because I was, as usual, at a panicky loss for blog topics until he offered to help

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Guest blogger Maria V. Snyder, author of STORM GLASS

Since I am guest-blogging elsewhere this week (details tomorrow), I'm even more excited than I would normally be to have as a special guest this week one of my favorite author friends--and favorite authors period--Maria V. Snyder!

Maria's brand-new release from Mira, Storm Glass, continues in the same world as her New York Times-bestselling Study series, but with a fascinating new protagonist. I'll let her tell you all about it below.

Oh, and she's giving away a signed copy of her new book to one lucky commenter, so check the rules (Rule 1: there are really no rules) at the bottom of the post.

***

Hello! Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! I'm very excited about the release of my new book, Storm Glass. The reviews have been favorable and I'm anxious to hear how my readers like my new protagonist.

As a glassmaker and magician-in-training, Opal understands trail by fire. Now she must test her mettle by discovering who is sabotaging the Stormdancer's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians.


Glass Magic

The idea for Opal's glass magic sprang from writing my third book, Fire Study. For Fire Study, I learned how to work with molten glass to accurately portray Opal and her family's glass factory. Molten glass glows with a bright orange light that eventually disappears as the glass cools (turning fire into ice). When I worked with the glass, I wished that inner fire would remain. So when I wrote the scene where Yelena sees Opal's glass animals for the first time, she comments on the inner glow. Well, in real life that wouldn't happen, so to explain the inner fire, I had Yelena discover that the glow is magic trapped inside. Magic that can be used by other magicians but not Opal. Only magicians can see the inner glow and they use the magic to communicate telepathically with other magicians far away--like magical cell phones.

This wonderful discovery expanded and became one of the core plot lines in both Storm Glass and Sea Glass. Opal's glass messengers are a major advancement for the people in Sitia and they can also find new magicians who may have been passed over because their magical powers are nontraditional.

As a seat of the pants writer – the unplanned discovery of Opal's magic is the greatest part of writing process for me. Not outlining a plot can be scary, and I always spend the first half of the book worried I don't have enough story for a full novel, and then I spend the second half of the novel worried I have too much story.

But when these golden nuggets are uncovered as I write and there have been lots of them– that, to me, is truly magical.

Excerpt:

“I’ll need to examine Kade’s orb,” I said.

“You’ll have to ask him,” Nodin said.

“Me? I thought…”

His brown eyes sparked with glee. “Yes, you. I’m beginning to like you, Opal. But not that much.” He grabbed the sphere and returned it to the back of the cave. “If you want to see Kade’s orb before dark, you better hurry. Once the sun dips below the sea, it turns black fast.”

I followed Nodin down to the beach. The sun hovered near the edge of the horizon, casting shadows along the water’s rippled surface.

“Good luck.” Nodin waved.

The wind whipped hair into my eyes when I stepped out on to the black rocks. I pulled the leather tie from my messy ponytail and tried to recapture all the strands into a neater knot. Funny how I hadn’t noticed the wind on the beach. Calling to Kade had proven futile. My shouts drowned by the sea’s song.

I hadn’t noticed how uneven and jagged the rocks were either. Waves crashed into them, sending spray high into the air. Water soon coated my skin and soaked my clothes. The rocks became slicker with each wave. I was glad I wore my brown boots, even though my boots were filled with water, their thick soles helped me navigate the slippery and rutted outcrop. At one point I climbed over a few sharp boulders, and at another I leapt over a gap. The tight knocking of my heart warned my body to turn around and go back to the beach, but I was determined. Stupid?

No. Determined. Until I reached a space too big to cross. Too big for me. Kade was three rocks farther out. Each separated by a large opening. Had he swam or jumped? It didn’t matter. All that mattered was he heard my shout.

He spun around. And I wished I had waited on the beach. With an angry scowl, Kade moved. I would have marveled at his speed and grace as he flew over the gaps, except he aimed toward me.

An errant wave knocked into me and I grabbed a rough edge to keep from falling. Pain laced my palm and blood welled.

Kade stopped before spanning the space between our rocks. His mouth moved, but the wind snatched half of his words. “…idiot…dangerous…go back!”

I understood his intent and turned to retrace my steps. The waves grew in size and frequency. They hunted me, attacking when I was vulnerable.

“Opal,” shouted Kade.

I looked back in time to see a giant blue-green wall of water rushing toward me.

The roar of the wind and sea ceased the moment the monster wave engulfed me. For one heartbeat, my world filled with gurgling sounds and foamy green light. Then the force of the crashing water slammed me into an unyielding object. The sea grabbed my limp body and tossed it about. Confusion dulled the pain until my forehead smacked into a jagged rock.

My vision clouded with blood and saltwater. Kade and the outcrop grew smaller as the sea sucked me into her liquid embrace.

*******

Why this book? What made you want to write this story?

I must confess, it was my editor's idea. After Fire Study, I wanted to write a different book - one not in the Study world (I had been writing about Yelena for eleven years – I like her, but come on – enough already). My editor really wanted another Study book to keep up the momentum. She mentioned Opal as a potential character.

I liked Opal and she surprised me by how valuable she became in Fire Study, but I couldn't think of a story idea with her. I was explaining this to my editor in Austin, Texas, during a World Fantasy Convention, and was literally in mid-sentence (she claims I was in mid-whine – but you can't believe that? Can you?) when the idea for Storm Glass popped into my mind. At first we were going to title the book Glass Study or Crystal Study, but I wanted a new title since I had a new main protagonist.

Which authors inspire you? Has that changed over time?

I really enjoyed reading Dick Francis's mystery novels. They were written in first person point of view, started with a bang and the action never stopped. So when I first started writing, using first person pov and keeping the stakes high seemed the right thing to do. I'm also a big fan of Barbara Hambly, and her characters are the kind I think about when I'm not reading. I try to create interesting and unique characters like Barbara's. My inspiration from these authors hasn't changed, but over time my list of authors has grown.

What do you find most interesting about the Stormdancers?

The Stormdancers have a unique magical ability. They harvest energy from a storm and bottle it in glass orbs. The orbs are then used to fuel machinery. Stormdancers can also manipulate the weather, within reason, to defend themselves or others. As a former meteorologist, this is very appealing to me. Just think if we had Stormdancers working in the Gulf of Mexico when Hurricane Katrina struck. They could have pulled the energy from the hurricane, reducing it to a harmless rain storm. We could use storm energy instead of oil.

Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you need to know in order to write it that you didn't know before?

When Opal first appeared in Magic Study, I decided her family own a glass factory so I had a reason for her and Tula to be out late at night (keeping the kilns hot so the sand would melt into glass). When I wrote Fire Study, Opal's involvement became more important and I realized I needed to learn how to blow glass in order to make my ending work. Learning how to work with molten glass was a blast. It's an amazing material and by making a vase myself, I could translate that experience for the story. For Storm Glass, one class wasn't going to be enough. I had to dive deep into the world of glass and I not only worked with hot glass, but I learned about stained glass, fusing glass and making glass beads (well- they are roundish).

What are you writing now?

I'm working on the third glass book (untitled right now). The second book, Sea Glass, will be released in September 2009. Even though both my series will have three books, I still consider them a series. I try and make every book I write a stand alone story. My biggest complaint about trilogies is that middle book is all middle, nothing is resolved or tied up at the end. I make sure each book I write has a beginning, middle and end. There may be a few threads dangling at the end, but the main plot is tied up.

Your character, Opal, can infuse her magic into the glass art she creates. Creating can be a form of magic that touches more than just its creator. Do you have similar ideas that led you to create Opal's character?

Yes. I feel creating a piece of artwork or even writing a story is a physical manifestation of the artist or author. I put my heart and soul into my stories - all my characters are filtered through me before being written and when someone reads my book, they're in a sense reading my mind and emotions.

Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write?

My office in my home is my main writing place. One of my husband’s hobbies is making furniture, so he made me a great U-shaped desk with lots of cabinets and installed built-in bookcases into two walls of my office. All the furniture is made from cherry wood that was cut from trees that had grown on his family’s farm. It’s a great place to work. I have my books, weapons, toys, and resources are all nearby.

Is there anything you especially like to work on in a book? Anything you hate?

I love writing action scenes and dialogue. I don't like writing description and trying to find a fresh way to write "her heart pounded." First drafts are always the most difficult – once that's done, I enjoy the revision process.

Do you enjoy book signings/book conventions?

Yes, very much. I love meeting readers and talking to fellow bookaholics. Plus any excuse to hang out in a book store is fine by me. Conventions are fun to not only meet readers but to network with my fellow authors and friends. Panels at cons can be good sources of information for my writing projects. My favorite events are when I'm invited to schools. Interacting with middle school and high school students is a hoot.

The one downside is I tend to over schedule when I have a new book coming out. I have a hard time saying no. For Storm Glass's release, I'm going to LA for a book release party at a Borders and also stopping in Arizona. My schedule for May is insane with stops at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., Boston, New York City, Austin, Texas, and a handful of local events in Pennsylvania.

This isn't your first book; tell us a little bit about what else is out there?

My Study series is still available. The series starts with Poison Study, which is about Yelena who is in the dungeon waiting to be executed for murder. She's offered a choice of being the Commander's new food taster or the noose. She chooses life and ends up getting into all kinds of trouble. Magic Study continues Yelena's story. This time instead of learning about poisons, she's trying to learn about magic and how to control her powers. Problems arise unexpectedly and she's tangled in a plot to reclaim a throne and has to deal with a soul-stealing serial killer who is after her. Fire Study is the last Study book (for now) with Yelena as the main character. In Fire Study she battles a Fire Warper, comes to terms with her conflicting loyalties, and fights the lure of power. The Study series has been published as both a fantasy novel for adults with romantic and suspenseful elements, and as young adult titles with different cover art.

Amazon purchase link for Storm Glass

Website: www.mariavsnyder.com
Email: maria@mariavsnyder.com
Myspace Page: www.myspace.com/mariavsnyder

Bio: Maria V. Snyder changed careers in 1995 from being a Meteorologist to a Novelist when she began working on her award-winning and New York Times bestselling Study Series which includes Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and she has earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Seton Hill University. Since becoming a writer, Maria has been busy attending conferences, teaching writing classes, and doing book events.

While doing research for her latest novel, Storm Glass, Maria learned that working with glass requires deft coordination, arm strength, tons of patience, and a good partner—she now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls.

Maria lives with her family in Pennsylvania where she is at work on her second Glass book, Sea Glass which will be released in September 2009.

***

Thanks so much for stopping by, Maria! Everyone who comments on this post will be entered to win a signed copy of Storm Glass. Maria is currently on tour, but hopefully she'll be able to stop in during the week and answer questions or comments. (No pressure or anything, Maria! :-)

I'll draw a name at random at 11:59pm Wednesday evening Eastern time. Good luck!

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Two ways to help Tails of Hope

Need some nummies? Tails of Hope, the animal rescue organization I volunteer with, is having a giant Bake Sale tomorrow at the Guilford Mansion in Frederick, MD, from 11am to 3pm. One of the people making goodies for the sale is a professional chef, so this ain't your average Bake Sale with Duncan Hines cupcakes (although those will probably be available, too).

If you're in the area, please stop by. I won't be there due to this annoying cold (what with the swine flu worries, I might scare people by sneezing and coughing), but Tails of Hope could really use your help. They had $9,000 in vet bills last month for the shelter animals in their care. Yeesh!

Here's a map to help you find it, as well as more information on this and other Tails of Hope events.

If you're not in the area, you can still help my favorite animal folks by helping them win a grant. It's super easy to do. I'll let Linda Junkins, our president, explain it:

The Animal Rescue Site is having another Shelter Challenge, and Tails of Hope has the potential to win up to a $20,000 grant! You can help by voting for Tails of Hope--today and every day--and by forwarding this to everyone you know.

To vote for us, simply click on the above icon, and then search for "Tails of Hope" in Maryland. You can vote every day until July 26, 2009. So program your PDA, set your alarm clock, tie a string around your finger--whatever it takes--but please don't forget to cast your daily vote!

Thanks for all you do to help our animals in need.
Since I don't have much time to volunteer these days due to book deadlines, this is one of the few ways I can help, by spreading the word. So please in turn help me by reposting the link and the voting instructions on your blog, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever.

Thanks and have a great weekend! If you go to the bake sale, tell them Jeri sent you. :-)

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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.

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Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

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