Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Caridad Ferrer

I am very excited about this week's guest on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, because Caridad Ferrer's first book, Adiós to My Old Life, is one of my all-time favorites. It's one of those novels that proves that you can appeal to teens and adults at the same time (as confirmed by its RITA® Award, which was for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance, an adult category--rock on!).

So I can't wait to pick up Caridad's new novel, When the Stars Go Blue, this weekend. (Butting in here, completely inappropriately, to mention that I will be at Waldenbooks at the Lebanon Valley Mall in Lebanon, PA, this Saturday from 2-4pm. Sorry, Caridad! Back to your book.)

About the Book:

A dancer driven to succeed.

 A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

About the Author:

Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”

She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.”


And now, my interview with Caridad!

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?

Despite the difficulties she encounters, I'd love to be Soledad (the lead in STARS) for just a bit. I'd love to be able to dance the way she does and get to hang out with Raj and Mamacita and be in corps again, for just a little bit.

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 ;-) ?

There's a character in a manuscript I just finished, Remy, who's a Creole chef and more than a little bit of a bad boy. I've never been that attracted to them, but something about Remy-- maybe it's the fact that he can cook. ;-)

3. What's the weirdest tidbit of research you've ever incorporated into a book?

That individuals without any kind of a pharmaceutical tech license can handle medications and label them in the state of Ohio.

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)?

There's an anime series called Witch Hunter Robin that ran on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim several years back. It was a limited run series with only 26 episodes and it centered around a young craft-user named Robin. It only ran once, but I was addicted and absolutely fell in love with the storytelling-- it just had a gorgeous story arc that threaded within the stand-alone episodes. I still haven't been able to find the English dubbed DVDs for sale-- most anime purist would want the Japanese language version with the subtitles, but I really loved the voice cast they had for the dub, especially for the male lead, Amon, who was portrayed by voice actor Crispin Freeman who's got an AMAZING voice.

5. Do you have any phobias?

Ants. I hate, hate, hate ants. They creep me out monumentally. *SHUDDER*


Congrats to Caridad on her new release! May Black Friday make those books fly off the shelves.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday cat blogging

Yesterday my great author friend (she's a great author and a great friend) Stephanie Kuehnert and I were discussing on Twitter how her cat Lars and my cat Twinkle are scared to death of the Comcast guy (granted, Twinkle is scared of every stranger and runs away, growling like Marge Simpson, the moment a car or truck pulls into the driveway).

It reminded me that I still had a picture from July 2009 (ALA Chicago) when I stayed with Stephanie, her fiance (now husband), and their three cats--Sid, Lars, and Kaspar. I was going to just post it straight to Twitpic, then realized it was Friday and I hadn't blogged in, um, a while.

Anyway, here's Kaspar as a chicken.

I am personally a HUGE fan of dressing up animals in silly costumes. It's the least they can do to pay us back for all those vet bills.

Happy Weekend! Next Monday I'll have a list of my holiday booksignings. Signed books make great gifts, especially for those people on your list who have everything except a signed book by me.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Daisy Whitney

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's giveaway for Denise Jaden's Losing Faith and for welcoming Denise to the blog! The winner of the drawing is...latishajean!

This week's guest is Daisy Whitney, whose debut novel, The Mockingbirds, came out yesterday. There's been a ton of buzz about this book online, and it sounds fabulous!

About the Book

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.

Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.


"First-time author Whitney boldly addresses date rape, vigilantism, and academic politics in an intense and timely novel... Besides showing skill in executing suspense and drama, Whitney masterfully evokes the complexity of her protagonist's emotions, particularly her intense longing to feel 'normal' again." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A masterpiece...every high school girl should read." --Romantic Times

And now, my interview with Daisy!

Q. 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?

I would like to be Maia, one of the close friends of my main character because Maia is British, brilliant and kick ass. She also has sleek black hair.

Q. 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 ;-) ?

Oh, I’d definitely want to renimate all my teen boy love interests! But then I’d have to make them 18 or I’d be a dirty old woman. I guess I’d still be a dirty old woman even if they were 18!

Q. What's the weirdest tidbit of research you've ever incorporated into a book?

I went to the New York Yankees locker room after a game with the Mariners in ‘99 when I was writing a screenplay about a cool chick sportscaster! That was fun!

Q. Do you have any phobias?

I have a fear of my husband making grilled radicchio again. Shudders!

Q. Which author, living or dead, would you most love to collaborate with?

I’d love to collaborate with Emily Giffin. I think she is the bomb.

Daisy can be found at www.DaisyWhitneyBooks.com and on Facebook.

Loved your answers, Daisy. On #2, I think all YA authors sort of feel that way about their teen boy characters--if we didn't, they probably wouldn't be very appealing! We can just tell ourselves, well, if I were my heroine's age, it would be great if he were real. Yeah, that's it.

Congrats to Daisy on her big debut!


Monday, November 01, 2010

NoMoEmo is here! Join me if you dare!

Today, many writers are beginning the annual word-creating ritual, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). As always, I wish them well, and as always, I cannot join them because I'm in rewrite mode (for Let it Bleed).

This month, I'm undertaking an alternate project that for many authors is much, Much, MUCH more intimidating than writing a novel.

Achieving Inbox Zero.

That mythical, Grail-like state in which one's inbox contains no messages, and not because one's hard drive crashed and erased everything.

I call it NoMoEmo. (NO MOre Email anyMOre.)

It doesn't mean I'm swearing off e-mail--quite the contrary, I will endeavor to return, delete, or file every e-mail in both of my inboxes, along with the subfolders marked "Answer" or "Action!" (in other words, the places where "urgent" e-mails go to die).

As of this moment, 3:12pm on November 1, my total number of un-dealt-with e-mails =


Huh. Last week when I counted it was in the 300s.

Well. Okay.

So with thirty days in November, taking away four days for Thanksgiving holiday, I need to reduce my total inbox count (TIC) each day by exactly 22 messages. Given that I receive more than 100 messages a day--many of which are instantly trash-able, such as offers from online stores and pleas for donations from various political candidates (which will thankfully end tomorrow)--this will probably require a good two or three hours a day of concentrated work.

But I will do it! Not only that, I will blog my progress and try to share any hints, observations, and frustrations. (Note: I will not do this every day. Not even every other day.) I think it will be an enlightening, educational, and somewhat frightening experience.

Would you like to join me? Would you like to emancipate yourself from the tyranny of the inbox? No TIC is too big, no avoidance behaviors too crazy--here at NoMoEmo we practice acceptance, understanding, and good-natured self-ridicule.

Post your TIC in the comments below, and repeat after me:

I will reply.

I will delete.

I will overcome.

UPDATE: It's now 5:32pm (I got interrupted by a beta reader calling with great feedback on Let it Bleed), and my TIC has gone up to 591. I give up.

I grabbed the above image from a blog called 2TimeMgt and its post, "The Ridiculously Overflowing Inbox," which tells us why this problem is a sign of lack of productivity and how it explains why everyone thinks those who have it is a loser/jerk.

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This Side of Salvation

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

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com.



"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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