Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Music and the Muse - Wicked Game playlist

A few weeks ago several authors got together (online, of course--it's our usual habitat) and decided to do simultaneous blog posts on the topic of "Music and the Muse," inspired by the article of the same name in a recent issue of RWA's member magazine. We were supposed to show how music intersects with our writing.

I didn't know where to start. All of my contemporary fantasy books are built around music. It's an obsession of mine. So asking me to blog about music and writing is like asking Oliver Stone to blog about the 1960s.

For example, the creation of my first published novel, Requiem for the Devil, was sparked by a performance of Verdi's Requiem. In the book, Lucifer is (among other things) a virtuoso on the piano and violin, and his girlfriend Gianna is the guitarist for a Washington, DC riot grrl band called Public Humiliation. (My friend Greg helped me write the lyrics for their hit, "Dick for Day," the ultimate penis envy song.)

In my upcoming YA novel, Shade, the main character's boyfriend is the frontman for an up-and-coming Celtic-flavored punk band, the Keeley Brothers. When Logan dies and becomes a ghost, his love of music lives on (as does his craving for fame, and hey, who's more famous than a dead rock star?).

Then there are the vampire DJs. The WVMP Radio series was inspired by a song on the radio ("Bad Company," which was the original title for Wicked Game), and music is woven into the text, both in the background and as plot points.

Soooooo, what to blog about? I know! Last week at a book club meeting I received a question that's also been asked in several interviews:

In WICKED GAME, which came first, the playlist or the story?

A bit of background for new visitors (welcome, by the way!): In the front of Wicked Game, you'll find a list of songs called a "Playlist." This is not the kind of playlist you see on a lot of authors' sites, where they share the music that helped inspire the story, or that they listened to while they were writing it, or even that they imagine the characters would love and that would resonate with particular scenes. All of that is extremely cool, but it's not what I did.

The Wicked Game playlist is, rather, a list of songs that are mentioned in the actual text. My publisher asked me to compile it, and I was thrilled at the chance to spotlight some spectacular music.

The cool thing was, in several scenes I hadn't specified a song, only the artist. I might have written that Shane played a Led Zeppelin song on the guitar for Ciara during their romantic platonic picnic. But for the playlist I had to figure out which song would fit the scene and character best ("The Rain Song," which also has the advantage of being very playable on acoustic guitar, according to my husband).

The even cooler thing? I got this request during the copyedit stage, when I still had a chance to go back and change the text. So I actually added a song or two to give some scenes more texture.

For example, in one scene Ciara comes home to find Shane in her apartment, sorting her CDs (it's a thing for him). He's playing one of her (and my) favorite CDs, Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville, and the song in particular, "Flower," fits exactly with the way she feels about him, much to her chagrin. For readers familiar with the song, it adds another layer of subtext and maybe even a wee chuckle. (But I must warn you if you decide to Google the lyrics--they are not for the easily shocked.)

So by giving me the opportunity to share the playlist, my publisher allowed me to add some subtle finishing touches (to "decorate" the story, you might say) with a dab of this or that mood. Readers who want a deeper experience of the book can look up the songs (or better yet, visit the WVMP Music page and listen to the playlist themselves).

Oh, look, here it is, for your enjoyment (but you should still check out the WVMP Music page for the three other playlists. Just sayin'.):




Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Other Music & the Muse bloggers:

Bryan Bliss
R.R. Smythe
Marley DeLarose
Tara Kelly
Stephanie Kuehnert
Jennifer Linforth

What does music inspire you to do? Write? Paint? Dance? Kiss? Spend money on more, more, MORE music? Talk to me. I'll be traveling all day Tuesday, but I'll try to respond on Wednesday to any comments.

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Now playing: White Zombie - More Human than Human

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Final Blogtoberfest & SHADE winner - You snooze, you lose edition

A couple weeks ago, I announced winners for two of the final Blogtoberfest prizes, an ARC of Shade and the grand mega-normous-zilla prize, a copy of every book in the Blogtoberfest (or more precisely, one book by each author, since one author gave away five books).

Sadly, the winners did not respond, so in accordance with the prophecy rules, I drew two more names.

The winner of an Advance Review Copy of Shade is...Lori! And the new lucky winner of the grand prize is...Cindy, aka I Heart Book Gossip!

Thanks AGAIN to the 25 participating authors, and the guests who left over 1,200 comments throughout the month.

Tonight I'm attending the Authors & Editors Reception put on by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America at Planet Hollywood in NYC. Then tomorrow morning I go to Rockefeller Center to meet with some wonderful folks from Simon Pulse to talk about plans for Shade. I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited--I've never had an official meeting with anyone besides my editors and agent, so I feel pretty lucky.

Cross your fingers I don't make a fool out of myself!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Laurie Stolarz

Hey, I'm back from Chicago! Windycon was awesome as always. My panels and reading and signing were nice, but the real purpose of going was so that my husband, official toastmaster Christian Ready, could give three thoroughly amazing, standing room only, ooh- and ahh-producing talks on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Recently I joined the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit, a group of wonderful women writers (WWW, if you will) who offer up "cyber-tours" for each others' book releases. So scarcely two weeks after the Blogtoberfest, here I am bringing you another author. You're welcome!

First a little bit of introduction from this week's author, Laurie Stolarz, here to talk about her new books, Black is for Beginnings (a graphic novel) and Deadly Little Lies.

* * * *

Thanks so much for inviting me to talk here about BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS and DEADLY LITTLE LIES.

BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS is a companion book to the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series. When my editor approached me with the idea of writing a graphic novel, I was very intrigued because it gave me the opportunity to not only try something new, but to really picture the book as a movie. I have a background in screenwriting and wrote BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS in screenplay format, adding in ideas for illustrations and sidebars. It was an absolute thrill to write – to have the opportunity to work with an illustrator, and to see my work come to life in this way. BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS does not take the place of a regular prose novel in the series. It is a companion piece, complimenting the entire series as a whole. It picks up where RED IS FOR REMEMBRANCE left off, and also shows some fan-favorite scenes from the entire series.

DEADLY LITTLE LIES is the sequel to DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, (the first book in the TOUCH series). I’m really excited about it, because I think it has even more suspense, romance, and twists than the first book. It starts up a few months after Ben’s departure at the end of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET. Camelia’s spent those months researching everything she can find on psychometry (the ability to sense things through touch). See the full description below.

I’m launching the release of DEADLY LITTLE LIES with a really exciting contest; be sure to check out the details below. Also below, you’ll find Stacey Brown’s courage sachet spell, Camelia’s favorite psychometry links, and some tips Camelia has to develop your own psychometric powers. I’m also including some random facts about me.

Lastly, the paperback of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET is out as well. For a limited time Barnes & Noble is offering an exclusive edition that has bonus excerpts from Ben’s secret blog.

Many thanks again for this opportunity to chat!

All best,
Laurie Stolarz

ABOUT BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS:

The BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series that put a spell on more than half a million readers continues – in graphic novel format! Prophetic nightmares. Near-brushes with death. Killers pursuing her and her friends. Stacey Brown knows that being a hereditary witch isn’t all it's cracked up to be.

All she really wants to do is work things out with Jacob and figure out what to do with the rest of her life. But before Stacey and Jacob can have a future, they must face their pasts. BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS reveals the never-before-seen backstory - and what lies ahead - for the young, spellcasting lovers.

BLACK continues the harrowing adventures of Stacey and Jacob in the wake of Jacob's brush with death. Ever since he lost his memory, Jacob hasn't been able to remember Stacey - his own soul mate. He leaves Massachusetts, returning to his childhood home in Colorado, hoping to jog his memory. What he remembers is Kira, his ex-girlfriend. As Jacob works to piece together his past, will there be room for Stacey in his future?

REVIEWS:

"The half-million readers of Laurie Faria Stolarz’s paranormal mystery series will be happy with this shift to graphic style, offering as it does the pleasure of putting faces on characters, its visualized eeriness and vibrant displays of emotion...The graphic style allows Stolarz to distill the story while simultaneously dropping hints about Stacey and Jacob’s supernatural talents, luring new readers to the series." - Kirkus Reviews

"Taking Stolarz’s Blue Is for Nightmares series into the graphic-novel realm is a bold idea, and it pays off in this morbidly entertaining and surprisingly romantic page-turner." - Booklist

“This scary and romantic story, with its larger-than-life emotions and darkly twisting plot, lends itself well to the graphic novel format. The teenage characters, their dialogue, and their interactions are well imagined and ably captured. And when you are not enjoying the great dialogue or fantastic artwork, it is fun to pore over the little details…BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS serves both to draw new teen readers to the series and to supply existing fans with interesting additional background and never-before-seen details. A winning formula!” – TeenReads


ABOUT DEADLY LITTLE LIES

Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, a new boy at school who had a very mysterious gift – psychometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry and experiencing strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow been transferred to her.

Ben returns to school, but he remains aloof, and Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Camelia makes the painful decision to let him go and move on. Adam, the hot new guy at Knead, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. But when Camelia and Adam start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events uncovers secrets from Ben’s past – and Adam's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out who – before it's too late.








Stacey Brown's Courage Sachet

Purpose: To help conquer your biggest fears.

Ingredients: swatch of cheesecloth, dried thyme, small piece of paper, black ball-point pen, piece of string.
1. On the piece of paper, using the black ball-point pen, write whatever it is you fear.
2. Fold this paper up, as tight as you can get it, imagining your fear becoming smaller and weaker with each crease.
3. Lay the cheesecloth open in front of you and drop the folded paper ball into the middle. 4. Sprinkle the dried thyme atop it.
5. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and tie closed with the piece of string.
6. Hold the sachet and repeat the following chant three times: I fear you now but not for long for with my courage you will be gone.
7. Keep this courage sachet with you whenever you need to remind yourself that you are much stronger than your fears.

For more spells, go here: http://www.llewellyn.com/spell.php

Camelia’s Favorite Links About Psychometry:
http://paranormal.about.com/cs/espinformation/a/aa063003.htm
http://freespace.virgin.net/russel.steward/psychome.htm
http://www.powerful-psychic-reading.com/psychometry.html

Directions on how to bring your own psychometric senses to fruition

1. Make yourself comfortable in a place that feels “sacred” to you. For some it’s outside, surrounded by nature; for others it’s a favorite chair or surrounded by candles; for me, it’s wherever I’m doing pottery.
2. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, letting go of any stray or nervous thoughts.
3. Now, take an object in your hand. A good idea is to have someone give you something they’ve owned for a long time, i.e. a favorite bracelet or a set of keys.
4. Close your eyes again and concentrate on this object. Be aware of any thoughts or feelings that come about as a result of holding this object. Talk those ideas through, even if they seem silly or insignificant, but never make information up.
Remember, this takes practice and a bit of experimenting. The goal is to begin tuning in to your own inner awareness and your ability of perception. What works for me is saying a question aloud in my head, and then sculpting out the answer – using my power of touch in a creative and organic way.

TOUCH SERIES CONTEST

You will need to read a copy of DEADLY LITTLE LIES to enter this contest. The grand prize winner of the contest will have a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE GAME, the third book in the TOUCH series named after him or her. OFFICIAL RULES for this contest are listed on my website, under NEWS.


* * * *

Jeri again here! And now, Laurie will answer my Five Questions, which some of you might recognize from my Mostly Debut Author interview series.

What's the weirdest tidbit of research you've ever incorporated into a book?
I once chewed a glob of Play Doh for research.

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)?
Rock of Love and (really blushing now) Daisy of Love.

What's your earliest memory?
I got my favorite doll when I was two-and-a-half. It was Christmas and I named her Cindyretta, because my best friend had already taken the name Cinderella.

Do you have any phobias?
I fear driving when its pouring out. One time, I got caught in it – all of a sudden it just started torrential-down-pouring – and I lost control of my car, and it started floating away.

Which author, living or dead, would you most love to collaborate with?
I’d love to collaborate with Francesca Lia Block. I think I could learn a lot from her. She has an amazing talent for putting words together in a unique and artful way. Her descriptions are truly vivid and beautiful.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of several popular young adult novels, including Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Project 17, Bleed, and the bestselling BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, which has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. Stolarz's titles have been part of the Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers list, the Top Ten Teen Pick list, and YALSA's Popular Paperback list, all through the American Library Association. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, visit Laurie's website at www.lauriestolarz.com.

Thanks to Laurie for stopping by!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Windycon schedule

Here's my official schedule for this weekend's Windycon 36, at the Westin in Lombard, Illinois (Chicago area). Windy is my all-time favorite science fiction/fantasy convention, and I'm so psyched to be going back, along with my husband Christian Ready, the Toastmaster and Man from H.U.B.B.L.E, who's been putting together three amazing Hubble Telescope-related talks. If you're in the area, I highly recommend stopping by.

The theme of this year's Windycon is Steampunk, and the Author Guest of Honor is James P. Blaylock. The official charity is People's Resource Center, who does good stuff for DuPage County folks in need.



1pm Saturday, Junior Ballroom B: Getting Worlds Right

You have a map, a river and some mountains. Think that's enough planning for your world? No way. Think about weather, growing seasons and migratory animals. Our panelists discuss who got it right and who missed it in their favorite books, films, etc.
With Michael D'Ambrosio, John Helfers, P.C. Hodgell, and Ross Martinek

3pm Saturday, Hallway: Autographing

5pm Saturday, Walnut Room: Reading

I'll be reading (out loud, even!) from Wicked Game and Shade, and possibly Bad to the Bone on request. Heck, I'll read anything. Bring your pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution, and I'll make it riveting!


10am Sunday, Lilac C: Rowling and Meyer

What are our kids reading now? Is there truly a young adult revival of speculative fiction or are these anomalies? Are our kids reading more SF or still playing it on the Wii? Find out from our panelists.
With Merrie Haskell, Jim Hines, and Rachel Neumeier

1pm Sunday, Lilac BD: What Our Things Say About Us
If an alien invaded your room, what could it tell from your stuff? What do our things reveal about their owners? Can anyone tell? See what our panelists think.
With Roland J. Green, Rachel Neumeier, and Jody Lynn Nye

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hermit day

Just got page proofs for Shade (yay! pretty fonts!) and still hammering away at the Bring on the Night rewrite (at least two days behind schedule), so today is an offline day.

Tomorrow I'll post my final schedule for Windycon, which starts this Friday. See you then!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Final Blogtoberfest winners!

By the end of this blog post, there will be three happy people, one of them much happier than the others (if happiness can be measured in books, which I think it can).

The winner of a signed Advance Review Copy of Shade (the FIRST Advance Review Copy, I might add) is...Leah! Leah, I don't have a way to contact you, so please send your mailing address to me in the next week. The ARC will go out later this month as soon as it gets into my grubby little hands.

The winner of their choice of a signed copy of Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Take or My Soul to Save is...Belly!

AND NOW...

THE WINNER OF THE GRAND PRIZE...

WHICH IS...

A COPY OF ALL 25 BOOKS GIVEN AWAY DURING BLOGTOBERFEST...

WHICH IS...

A REALLY COOL PRIZE...

IS...

First of all, I'd like to take a moment to thank all the--just kidding! The winner is emmad. Please send me your mailing address within the next week so I can put in the order for all those sweet books!

OK, now I'll take a moment to once again thank all the participants who were so generous with their time and books. Some of them didn't even know me personally, but they were willing to help make this a great party. I know from experience that writing a good guest blog post can take several hours and sometimes a considerable amount of hair-pulling when the first few drafts come out lame. Or maybe that's just me.

And thanks to everyone who came to the party! I hope many of you will stick around and see what kind of stuff I babble about on a daily basis. Mostly books, often food or music, and sometimes cats and dogs.

Have a great week, and congrats again to all the winners!

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Winner of TEMPTED and speaking of beautiful books

The winner of a signed copy of PC Cast and Kristin Cast's TEMPTED is...Patti! Congrats!

Thanks to everyone who commented, and a special thanks to PC who popped it during her whirlwind book tour to say hi.

We have two more Blogtoberfest contests still open:

Jeri Smith-Ready and an ARC of Shade
Rachel Vincent and My Soul to Take or My Soul to Save (winner's choice)

I'll announce the final two regular prize winners on Monday, along with the super-mega-jackapotamus grand prize winner.

My own copy of Tempted arrived the other day, along with Scott Westerfeld's new YA steampunk novel, Leviathan. They're both deliciously gorgeous, inside and out. Tempted's book jacket has beautiful artwork on the inside--which I'd never seen before her last book, Hunted--as well as artwork on the hardcover face itself (under the jacket)--which I haven't seen since I was a kid.

Inside jacket art of Hunted:


Speaking of things I haven't seen since I was a kid, Leviathan has illustrations! I remember growing up, reaching the point where my chapter books had no pictures and feeling quite cheated. So I can't wait to dig into this one.

It's also a bit heavier than other books its size, and together with the illustrations and the metallic embossing of the cover art, the whole effect is classic, old-fashioned quality. Which makes sense, considering it's steampunk and meant to evoke an earlier age.

Here are a couple of fascinating interviews on Tor.com about the illustrations, one with Scott Westerfeld and one with artist Keith Thompson. There's also a blog about the gorgeous Grand Map, which is printed inside the front and back covers.

The problem is, I can't take these books traveling with me, and November is full of travels (yes, during a rewrite--madness, I tell you!). Not only do hardcovers provide extra weight, but their beauty could get marred.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I once loaned my hardcover of one of my favorite books, Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, to someone who took it with them every day on the subway. It got some ugly damage, and what's worse, the person didn't even like the book! (It later won the Pulitzer, so there.)

Luckily, I have a couple dozen mass market paperbacks I haven't read yet, in a pile so high I literally can't reach the top to add another. And with paperbacks, I actually prefer them a little worn out--it shows I've loved them well.

Do you treat your books differently based on the format? Coddle your hardcovers and abuse your paperbacks? If a hardcover book has particularly amazing artwork, are you more likely to buy it rather than waiting for the cheaper paperback, or do you base that decisions solely on the book itself and how much you need it now Now NOW?

Whatever your preferred form of book, be it hard or soft or electronic, I hope you have a happy weekend of reading!

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Winner of THE EX-GAMES and the rundown on rewrites

The winner of Jennifer Echols's The Ex-Games is...van_pham!

There are still three remaining open Blogtoberfest contests, to win signed copies of:

PC Cast and Tempted (for a few more hours!)
Jeri Smith-Ready and an ARC of Shade
Rachel Vincent and My Soul to Take or My Soul to Save (winner's choice)

* * * *

As I mentioned earlier this week, I've started rewriting the third book in the vampire series, Bring on the Night, due November 30.

Okay, it's technically due December 7, BUT if I don't begin writing Book 4 on December 1, the entire house of cards that is my upcoming deadline schedule starts to collapse. Don't believe me? Here it is:

  • December-January: write rough draft of WVMP #4 (tentatively titled Lust for Life)
  • February: finish rough draft of Shift (the sequel to Shade)
  • March: write second draft of Lust for Life, due April 1
  • April-May: write second draft of Shift, due June 1 (oh, and launch a brand new series with a whole new audience, which will involve a lot of travel and interviews and guest blogs and the usual utterly delicious craziness)

So. November 30 it is.

Which makes explaining my rewrite process very neat, because it involves four separate stages:

Week One - Analysis/Planning

Goal: Figure out what's wrong with the book and how to make it right

Tools:

-Hard copy of manuscript
-Pen (color irrelevant)
-Books on making novels kick ass, including Writing the Breakout Novel and Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass, and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
-Loads o' pondering time.

NOTE: pondering can often bear an eerie resemblance to one of the following:
1) walking the dog
2) showering
3) staring into space
4) napping

Week Two - The Rewrite
Goal: Fix big issues, like:

-subplot makes no sense
-other subplot makes no sense
-my editor, my beta readers, and I all hate one of the main characters with the venom of a 1,001 vipers

While all three applied to an early version of Bad to the Bone (buy me a drink one day and I'll tell you about Gwendolyn Huff the half-pookha *shakes head with disgust*), none of these is the case with Bring on the Night.

So I can relax next week, right? Wing off to Windycon for a long weekend of hobnobbing and poker-playing?

No, because as solid as the story is, it could still be better. It could be bigger. The villain could be much less mustache-twirly (not saying the villain has a mustache, regardless of gender) and actually feel deep conflict over his or her dastardly deeds.

Good enough is never good enough. I repeat, with bold italic fancy-fonted spectacle, GOOD ENOUGH IS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH. (OK, I don't actually have any fancy fonts for this blog.)

Tools:

- Marked-up manuscript
- Notebook full of unorganized blatherings, pages dog-eared until I've entered the scribbles into a file with some semblance of order
- Laptop disconnected from internet
- Coffee

Notice that showers are not mentioned here.


Week 3 - Revisions
Goal: Picking up the pieces

The previous week, many new scenes were written and many old scenes were cut. So Week 3 begins with a read-through to see if it all hangs together. Usually there are some rough transitions that need to be smoothed out, or I'll wake up in the middle of the night realizing that a really important question was raised in Chapter 24, and then the characters just sort of...forgot about it.

Tools:
-same as rewrite, but with more coffee

Also note lack of showers.

Week 4 - Final polish
Goal: make the prose shine, so that every sentence skewers the reader's eyeball and bursts inside their brain with the brilliance of a six-pack of supernovae

Tools:
-highlighters in the following colors: blue, yellow, green, pink
-red rollerball pen
-part of brain that if unleashed every day would have me medicated for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

What's with all the different colors? I once took an online workshop with author/trainer/psychologist Margie Lawson called Deep Editing. Part of the process is to break down the different elements of one's writing: dialogue, actions, description, interior thoughts, and visceral gut feelings. Each one gets its own color, so you can look at a page at a glance and figure out what's missing. (You can also work on each element separately--I do this especially with actions, which tend to be repetitive in early drafts.)

Margie thinks my class work paid off, because she used a few samples from Wicked Game to illustrate some Deep Edits principles. To me, there was no greater compliment.

So that's what I'll be doing the week of Thanksgiving. I'll probably have to shower at some point for the holiday.

Whew! There you have it. Of course, this is just how I work. Others I'm sure do it differently, and there's no right or wrong way. But I like to learn about other people's processes (unless they're really quick and easy, and then I just want to maim them), because I can often find new tips and tricks within.

I should also note that usually Stages One and Two take much longer than a week, but usually (as in every book since Voice of Crow in early 2006) the story is a complete mess.

Not this time. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because I've been thinking about this book, the central piece in the WVMP Radio series, since the first day I started writing what became Wicked Game. Maybe it was because I spent a full month outlining Bring on the Night and Lust for Life for the proposal to my publisher. I'll have to ponder the reasons why at some point.

But first, I must ponder the book itself! Off to stare into space, maybe eat some pistachios.

----------------
Now playing: Noah and the Whale - 2 Bodies 1 Heart

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Winner of CAPTIVATE and a blog about blogging

The winner of a signed Advance Review Copy of Carrie Jones's Captivate is...Bella! Bella, please send your mailing address to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com within the next week.

Remaining open Blogtoberfest contests:

Jennifer Echols and The Ex-Games (for the next few hours only!)
PC Cast and Tempted
Jeri Smith-Ready and an ARC of Shade
Rachel Vincent and My Soul to Take or My Soul to Save (winner's choice)

I really loved doing the Blogtoberfest. It reminded me how much I enjoy daily babbling--I mean, blogging. It's a great way to connect with other people using more than 140 characters (a la Twitter). Assuming I can still communicate using more than 140 characters.

So my plan going forward is to blog more often. Hopefully every weekday, although probably not as much over the holidays and near deadlines (which this month is the same thing--fun for the whole family!).

To help me keep up the habit, the blog posts won't always be long (remember, I've lost stamina due to Twitter), and they will no longer be copied and pasted to LiveJournal and MySpace (if you're reading this here, you're obviously cool with that part). And unlike during Blogtoberfest, they won't always involve free stuff (unless you count words, which hey, aren't always free, right?).

But the posts will always, always, ALWAYS include at least two parentheses (if a set of parentheses counts as two, and probably even if it doesn't).

And they will often include random crap that cracks me up, like this video (hat tip to Curtis Brown agent Nathan Bransford:



See you back here tomorrow, when I talk about my typical rewriting process and how I'm applying it to Bring on the Night!

----------------
Now playing: Dave Sasscer - Quiet Mind

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Winner of BoS & and an auction for "marked up" WICKED GAME

The lucky winner of a signed copy of Stephanie Kuehnert's BALLADS OF SUBURBIA is...tetewa! tetewa, please send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com in the next week. As always, only I and the author sending the prize will see the address.

Thanks to everyone who commented--now go read this fabulous book! :-)

Remaining open Blogtoberfest contests:

Carrie Jones and an ARC of Captivate
Jennifer Echols and The Ex-Games
PC Cast and Tempted
Jeri Smith-Ready and an ARC of Shade
Rachel Vincent and My Soul to Take or My Soul to Save (winner's choice)


There's a very exciting series of online charity auctions going on now through the end of December at Leave a Mark, and this week's offering is the first in my WVMP series, Wicked Game.

"Leave a Mark" is a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes of a book. Authors mark up their books with little tidbits about the scenes, what was on their mind when they wrote it, maybe how it changed from the original version. Think of it as a written "director's commentary."

All the proceeds of Leave a Mark go to First Book, an organization that provides new books to needy children. Kudos to Lauren and Chelsea, the book bloggers who set this up!

In the Wicked Game markup, you can find out things like:

  • which scene I wrote while obsessively listening to the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me soundtrack
  • which real-life bully the character of Jolene was based on
  • which scene, as originally written, set off my editor's "cheese-o-meter"

Bids will run until Sunday night.

Wicked Game
was drastically reworked between submission and publication, so I might tuck a deleted scene or two into the book. Maybe even the one with Shane and Ciara in a supply closet. *whistles innocently*

Because my handwriting is so bad, the marks will probably be typed on labels stuck to Post-It notes on each page, with page numbers on each note in case they fall out. I'll also throw in an extra, non-marked up copy if you want to read the "theatrical version" first.

Bottom line: you can't get this anywhere else. If you're the least bit interested in how an author writes a book, you should check out these auctions. If you remember what it was like as a kid to have your very own books you could read again and again and again, you should definitely check out these auctions and help a worthy cause.

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Now playing: Cake - Open Book
via FoxyTunes

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Winner of BALLAD and a chance to win a Kindle

The winner of Maggie Stiefvater's Ballad is...Sylvia! Congrats!

There are still six open Blogtoberfest contests, so check them out:

Stephanie Kuehnert and Ballads of Suburbia
Carrie Jones and an ARC of Captivate
Jennifer Echols and The Ex-Games
PC Cast and Tempted
Jeri Smith-Ready and an ARC of Shade
Rachel Vincent and My Soul to Take or My Soul to Save (winner's choice)

Speaking of giveaways, the Fangs Fur and Fey urban fantasy community (of which I am a member) just celebrated its three-year Blog-iversary. To share the joy, we're giving away $700 worth of prizes, including twenty-two $20 gift cards to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, or Powell's (winner's choice).

The grand prize is a Kindle reader (retail value $259)!

So go visit Fangs Fur & Fey to find out how to win. It's almost criminally easy to do. Deadline is November 13.

And speaking of FFF, I'm doing my usual Monday Topic of the Week today, and this week's topic is the Grim Reaper. Only not-so-Grim, not-so-Reapy sometimes.

Off to start the rewrite for Bring on the Night. I'm sad to leave the YA books behind for a few months, but dying to get me some Ciara and Shane action again!

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Now playing: Snow Patrol - How to Be Dead

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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.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

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