Friday, January 22, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Carrie Jones

Whoa, I'm getting the wildest sense of deja vu, because today's guest on the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is Carrie Jones, who just a few months ago graced this blog during the Blogtoberfest.

But today she is no longer Carrie Jones, she is New York Times-bestselling author Carrie Jones! Woo-hoo! *throws confetti, performs bizarre mishmash of Kermit and Snoopy dances*

Her new book, Captivate, is on the hardcover bestseller list, while the paperback version of its predecessor, Need, is on the paperback list. (Did I say, "Woo-hoo!" yet? *scrolls up* Yep, I did.)

Before I post my li'l interview with Carrie, here are some things you might not know about her (but you really should, because there'll be a quiz later, maybe not here, but somewhere):

About CAPTIVATE:

In this NYT-Bestselling sequel to NEED, Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

What People are Saying About NEED and CAPTIVATE:

“If you asked Stephen King and Stephanie Myers to co-author a book, they would come up with NEED.” – Justine Magazine

"An exciting venture filled with nasty evil creatures,
nail-biting action and heart-pounding romance." 
—teenreads.com

“Romance, suspense, and a very clever heroine 
make this a must-read!” —Toledo Blade

"Genre fans will enjoy the sizzle between Nick and Zara 
as well as the paranormal cast." —PW

“This book is for fans of Holly Black and Melissa Marr… fairy lovers crowd in! It’s got some really good reviews coming in already. We’re talking a love story people, with fairies - please, who would not buy this? So look out!”— Annette’s Book Blog

"Jones masterfully blends paranormal fantasy, suspense, and romance to craft a new supernatural tale that is certain to appeal 
to fans of dark urban fantasy like Marr's Wicked Lovely and paranormal romances like Meyer's Twilight books. A likeable cast 
of engaging and interesting characters combine with a plot that grabs readers and refuses to let go." —VOYA

"A fast-paced novel worthy of the fantasy greats, 
Need will take you for a ride." —VOYA, teen reviewer

About Carrie Jones:

1. Carrie can not drink coffee. It makes her insane. Do not give her caffeine.

2. Carrie is very responsive to loving strokes on the hair, kind of like a puppy. However, do not do this without asking first unless you are a ridiculously handsome man or an editor who is about to offer her a trillion dollars for the first draft of her novel.

3. Carrie is secretly really, really shy even though she’s pathetically outgoing in person. She has a very hard time calling people. So, if you want to talk to her, make the first move. And, if you’re her in-Maine female best friend, Jennifer, do NOT get mad at her because she is so bad at returning emails.

4. Carrie sometimes wears mismatched socks, if you do not think this is cool, do not tell her. You will hurt her feelings.

5. Carrie really, really wants you to like her books. Please like her books. PLEEEAASSSEEEE. She’ll be your best friend forever. That is, if you want a friend who is shy about calling and emailing and who wears mismatched socks and can’t drink caffeine and likes being pet on the head. Hhmmm….

6. Carrie is not above begging.

7. Carrie, like Belle in TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND drinks Postum. It’s for the same reason, too.

8. Carrie loves Great Pyrenees dogs. They are huge and white, and furry and it looks like they have white eyeliner and mascara on, which is way too cute. Do you have one? Send a picture!

9. Carrie lives in Maine. She has a hard time with this in the winter. It is bleak in Maine in the winter. Imagine everything shades of gray and brown and no green anywhere except for in people’s noses. This is Maine in Winter. Maine in summer is the best place in the world, so it’s a trade-off. Feel free to invite Carrie to your house in the winter, but not if it’s in Greenland, Canada, or anywhere north of Florida.
Forget that. She’d still probably come.

Carrie's website
Needpixies.com (This is where sneak peaks and contests are. You can win a computer. Seriously!)
Carrie on Facebook
Need on Facebook


Now, Carrie takes time from her glamorous new life to answer a few silly questions from Someone Who Knew Her When (me, and the "when" started maybe eighteen months ago--I'm not saying we go way back or anything):

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?

Zara.

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 ;-) ?

Oh gosh, as a little bit more definitely Nick because he is just sigh-worthy. I know I created him and that feels a little pervy, but he really is.

As a friend I’d really like either Zara or Issie. They are both awesome friends.

3. 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)?

Jeri, there are soooo many. I really still like LOST and FRINGE. I am totally in love with this ancient music group called THE WATERBOYS. Sigh. I am such a fan girl.

4. What's your earliest memory?

When I was born the doctors thought I was blind but when I was six months old they realized I could see. I just sort of saw four of everything and in a very blurry way. So, I had an operation when I was one. I have this really distinct memory of suddenly smelling home again and crawling around but not being able to see anything at all, and going behind the couch and touching it. I can still feel the fabric against my palm. I know this can’t possibly be a real memory, but my mom says it did happen.

5. Do you have any phobias?

I am really REALLY afraid of downhill skiing, which is ridiculous I know.

----

It's not ridiculous! People get killed and maimed on the ski slopes on a regular basis. Of course, my husband is going skiing with my brother and nephew next weekend while our house is invaded by writers, but I'm not worried about them. Not at all.

Anyway, yay Carrie! I mean it sincerely when I say that success could not happen to a nicer, more deserving person. Not that I would ever say that insincerely about anyone. Why waste compliments on the non-nice?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

----------------
Now playing: Keane - Playing Along
via FoxyTunes

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday #3

Thanks to everyone who donated and/or spread the word about last week's book giveaway to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Because of your generosity, we raised $600 plus 10 pounds sterling! I'll be sending out books ASAP.

I have a couple news items this week. I'm psyched to report that Christopher Pike's second Last Vampire compendium, Thirst 2, hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for children's paperbacks! Being a selfish person, the reason I'm psyched is because the volume has a sample chapter of Shade at the end.

Of course, my immediate thought when I saw the list wasn't, "How wonderful! Loads of readers will be introduced to Aura and her friends."

My immediate thought was, "Oh no! People will be coming by the website, and it's a mess!" Actually, the site itself is lovely (thanks, honey!), but some of the information was out of date. So I spent Sunday making it "company ready" so as not to embarrass myself in front of the two or three new visitors. Not that my loyal readers aren't worth a clean website. But you know how you don't clean your house as well for your mom and your best friend as you do for first-time visitors? It's kinda like that.

For instance, the home page and news page no longer say that my next appearance is Windycon, November 13-15. That is SO last year! (Literally.) The news page now even has my complete panel schedule for the RT Booklovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio, April 28-May 2.

The other news item can be found subtly listed on the books page. Book Four of the WVMP Radio series (tentatively titled Lust for Life) is now firmly scheduled for August 2011. Since the sequel to Shade, titled Shift, will be out in May 2011, that means I'll have the exact same release schedule two years in a row. Makes it easy for me to remember.

Speaking of Lust for Life, I'm not sure if that's going to be the title. I might save it for Book Five (if there ever is a Book Five--that's up to my publisher, or more precisely, up to readers to buy Bring on the Night in sufficiently large quantities this August). But it doesn't really fit Book Four anymore, now that I'm figuring out what the story is all about.

A couple weeks ago I wrote that I was going to try this new work scheme where I write 3,000 words a day five days a week and then took weekends off. It went swimmingly for about ten days, then I realized that I'd reached the point where I didn't really know what was going to happen next, I was just coughing up words like so many hairballs. The story was careening out of control.

I also realized I had one too many antagonists. In the process of yanking out the antagonist who belongs in the final book and not this one, I extracted more than 8,000 words. Clearly I was not going to make my word count goal ("-8,138" looks really bad on the spreadsheet.)

So I decided to take a step back, do some scene-by scene outlining for the first quarter of the book, and now I'm writing one scene a day (or two, if they're short simple scenes). That way I don't bloat up the book with endless dialogue just to make my word count.

I'll use this method until it stops working, and then I'll try something else. I envy writers who are able to follow the same process every time. Heck, I can't even sit in the same place in my house more than a week or two at a time before I need a change of scenery.

That's all for this week. I'm still grumpy from the Ravens game, so we're lucky I've gotten through this entire post without profanity.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help Haiti and get a free book

FINAL UPDATE: All 20 books have been spoken for, and a total of $480 plus 10 British pounds have been raised for Haiti relief. I am stunned and amazed by your generosity. Thank you from all the squishy little corners of my heart!

I hope others consider donating to this worthy cause today and in the weeks to come. The work there, I fear, will not be over for many years, if ever.

Words like "devastate" can easily weaken from overuse. "He is devastatingly handsome." Or "I'm devastated they canceled Dollhouse."

But when a 7.0 earthquake destroys the capital city of the hemisphere's poorest nation, a nation whose infrastructure was shoddy and piecemeal to begin with, a nation whose people live off the equivalent of $2 per day? That's devastation.

Many charitable organizations are pitching in to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF, which stands for their original French name Medecins Sans Frontieres) is in my opinion one of the bravest and noblest charities in the world. They go into war-torn areas that others won't dare to enter. They operate independent of political, religious, and military affiliations. They speak out against the atrocities and violence they witness in the course of their work. And they don't care who they piss off in their battle for compassion, mercy, and better medical care for those in need. That's why they got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, and why I think they deserved it.

Let's help MSF help Haiti.

I still have a box of 20 trade paperback copies of Bad to the Bone. It's been sitting in my rec room since last May, its contents waiting for a chance to enter the world and maybe make a few people laugh or go, ooh. On February 22, another two boxes of the book will arrive when the mass market version comes out.

Basically, my Bad to the Bone cup runneth over, and it's time to share the wealth.

If you donate $15 to Doctors Without Borders, I'll send you an autographed, personalized copy of Bad to the Bone while supplies last.

Rules:

1. Donate at least $15 at the Doctors Without Borders website and forward the donation receipt to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com. Then leave a comment to this post--it can be anonymous if you prefer, but this will help other readers gauge how many people have already given.

2. Giveaway will continue while supplies last (20 books). I'll modify this post the moment the target is reached. UPDATE 8:24pm EST: I still have six books left. SECOND UPDATE 8:32am: I have one book left. So far you generous readers have donated $400 (plus 10 pounds)!

3, International readers welcome. However, it costs a bundle to ship a book overseas, so if you are outside the US or Canada, please be a pal and only do this if you really really intend to read the book or give it to someone who will.

4. Retail value of book: $15. Helping doctors help injured, homeless Haitians: priceless.

5. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

6. I'll personalize the book to you, unless you request otherwise (if you'd like me to sign it to a friend for a gift or simply put "eBay auction winner" ;-).

Thanks, and spread the word!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday #2 - new books, music & MISHA IS FAMOUS(ish)!

Don't faint. I'm actually doing a weekly feature more than one week in a row. If you need help with the shock, put your head between your legs, or breathe into a paper bag. An empty paper bag.

First, as always, les livres! (Sometimes I break into French for no good reason.) Two more of my fellow class of 2K10 members had releases last week. We're already more than 25% of the way through our year's debut novels, and it's only (*checks calendar*) some day in January.

Jennifer Hubbard's debut, The Secret Year, came out on Thursday. I picked it up to "leaf through" and spent the next half hour standing in my living room reading the first several chapters. All while the five books I'm in the middle of reading glared at me from various spots in the house (most had to glare through the ceiling and walls). Jennifer also has a wonderful blog that fills me with awe.

Irene Latham's Leaving Gee's Bend arrived on the same day. I was psyched to see that it's set in 1930s Alabama and concerns a sharecropper's daughter who sets out on her own to find help for her ailing mother. Being a giant fan of early Delta blues music, that place and time has always fascinated me. For a great interview, check out our fellow classmate Denise Jaden's blog.

In music, Vampire Weekend has a new CD out today! They were not a love-at-first-listen band for me, but the songs from their last album really grew on me over the months. The new stuff sounds even better.

I've gotten three minor pieces of good news from my agent in the last two days, none of which I can share at the moment (but they're minor, so you're not missing much). But by far the most exciting thing to happen today occurred in this video interview with Jason Scott, owner of and Twitter transcriber for Sockington, the world's most popular cat.

Sockington has over a million followers on Twitter (listen to the interview to find out why), including my cat Misha (who has his own Twitter account). Misha, along with several thousand other cats, dogs, rabbits, hamster, geckos, etc., is officially part of Sockington's army. Back in May (May 16, to be exact, three days before the release of Bad to the Bone), I happened to be passing by Socks's page and noticed he was about to pass 500,000 followers.

Ten minutes later, he did, then asked Socks Army to "represent" with the American Sign Language sign for cat. Somehow I managed to get Misha in the proper position and sent a link to the photo to Sockington. It was a fun moment of goofing off with my cat, nothing more.

Three days later, Socks had a new video up, and holy crap, Misha was in it (at minute marker 1:47, to be exact)! Yes, it was the release day of my new book, and the happiest moment was my cat appearing in another cat's video. (You might wonder if authors get blase about their new books, maybe when they're not the beginning of a new series and when they know it has a snowball's chance in hell of hitting a bestseller list. Instead of "blase," I would use the word, "calm.")

Fast forward to today and the interview with Jason Scott (aka Fatty). Our little man-cat's picture can be found at minute marker 2:58 (disturbingly, as Jason is talking about people whose cats are no longer with them, which I can assure you Misha is. With us. Demanding food, so I better go.)

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday #1

Happy Tuesday, folks! I'm starting a new thing (and now that I've called it a "thing" I'll probably never do it again), Tidbit Tuesday (unless y'all prefer "Tuesday Tidbits" or something less cutesy like "Tuesday Trash," or more cutesy like "Tell-It-To-Ya Tuesday," or a Monday night feature called "'Til Tuesday"--hey, I like that one). I'll mention new book/music releases I'm excited about, plus news items I don't have time to elaborate on at the moment.

--First, the books! Two fellow Class of 2K10 members have their very first books out today and tomorrow (and another on Thursday, which I'll mention then). Today marks the release of Kitty Keswick's Freaksville. You can read more about it at her launch post, including a short interview with her brilliant editor at Leap Books.

Bonnie Doerr's debut, Island Sting, comes out tomorrow. I'm particularly excited about this because it features an environmental theme. I tried twice unsuccessfully to get a "green" novel published, so I'm cheering for this one to do well so we see more of them in the future. Also, she's a big fan of one of my favorite authors, Carl Hiaasen, so I know the book has to rock. There's a great interview with Bonnie over at Aurora's Reviews.

--Speaking of Class of 2K10, the Page Turners blog did a mini-interview with all of us, asking about our first lines, how and whether they changed from first draft to final.

--The last book I wanted to mention is actually a repackaging/re-release of three YA vampire novels, but it's very important for one reason. At the back of the second and final Christopher Pike Last Vampire compendium (Thirst #2) is...the first chapter of Shade!

Thirst #2 comes out today, but my copy arrived last Friday. Seeing Aura's words in bound printed form gave me the chills, and it wasn't just because I'd left the door open in my excitement to open the box. I'll probably wait until February to put the first chapter up on the website, so if you want to read Shade's first chapter, go check it out--the Pike books are excellent, too! Thirst #1 hit the New York Times bestseller list. If you haven't heard of The Last Vampire series, you're in for a real treat.



--I've started a new work plan for the new year. Yes, another Grand Masta plan that will make me more productive and happy! Here it is, simply put:

Instead of writing 2,000 words every day, including weekends, while trying to keep up with Stuff (blogging, e-mail, interviews, etc.), I'm going to start writing 3,000 words every weekday and take weekends off to catch up on Stuff and catch my breath.

This will allow me to have a more single-minded (some would say simple-minded) focus. Weekdays = writing; weekends (and some weekday evenings) = other. My brain likey!

So far so good after two days, but we'll see how it goes. Right now I'm off to play one of the two new Wii games we got for Christmas. After all, stress reduction is one of my goals for the New Year, and not making that goal will totally stress me out!

Yes, I'm certifiably insane.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Eileen Cook

Happy New Year! I'm thrilled to start things off by introducing you to one of my fellow travelers on the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit, Eileen Cook. Her latest novel, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, comes out tomorrow.

Popularity is the best revenge.


In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.


Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.


Some fantastic authors had lovely things to say about Eileen's previous book, What Would Emma Do?

“Sassy and sly and sweet all at the same time, this book made me laugh out loud.” --Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Airhead

“Not since Judy Blume's Margaret introduced herself to God has there been such a funny, genuine, conflicted, wanna-be-sorta-good-maybe-later girl as Emma. Cook's tone as she takes on the big ones—life, love, faith, and friendship—is pitch perfect.”--Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Midnight Twins and The Deep End of the Ocean

"Smart and fun and full of heart." --Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Broomsticks and How to Be Bad

---

And now, my interview with Eileen:

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?

I like all my characters, but I’m also mean to them. As the writer I seem to go about making their lives as miserable as possible. I’m not sure I would want to be any of them in the middle of the book- unless I already knew how things would work out!

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

My first book, Unpredictable, was about a woman who pretends to be a psychic to get her ex-boyfriend back. When I was researching the novel I went to over a dozen psychics looking at how they did their readings. There were some that seemed to have some interesting abilities, but there were some that after awhile I figured out how they were faking it. It was a ton of fun.

3. What's your earliest memory?

I remember at Christmas I was small enough to lie under the Christmas tree and it was almost like a living green tent. I loved the smell of the pine and the lights. My parents would act like they didn’t know I was under there and I thought I was very clever.

When I was older I used to be so sad when it came time to take down the tree. I would cry. My parents would get me out of the house, take down the tree and then leave a note to me from the tree saying it had to go back to the forest to be with his family. I had no idea there was such a thing as The Chipper.

4. Do you have any phobias?

One of the downsides of being a writer is that you have a very active imagination. I can freak myself out without even trying hard. Once I woke up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom and saw that there was a spider hanging mere inches from my face. I stayed up the rest of the night thinking about how it could have kept lowering itself until it was ON MY FACE. What if it crawled into my nose and laid spider baby eggs in my sinus cavity? Would they eat my brain? Would I go crazy?

I also have a fear of dentists, but I don’t think that is irrational. People who stick sharp pointy sticks into your gums and use power tools on your teeth are scary.

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

Oooh hard question. There are so many great writers that I would love to work with. If I have to pick just one, (versus taking your blog over for months at a time while I go through the list) I would pick Judy Blume. I loved her books growing up and I really admire her career and involvement in the community. Plus, who wouldn’t want to say they had Judy Blume as a friend?

---

About the Author

Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. When she was unable to find any job postings for world famous author, she went to Michigan State University and became a counselor so she could at least afford her book buying habit. But real people have real problems, so she returned to writing because she liked having the ability to control the ending. Which is much harder with humans.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Happy Release Week, Eileen, and thanks for including me on your tour!

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

If you see this post...

...and only this post, as a result of clicking on "Current Contests and Reader Giveaway," then that means there are, sadly, no current contests or giveaways.

I had to create this post to keep that link from taking you to a dark and scary place known as PAGENOTFOUND (which I believe is a German term that roughly translates as "Psych!").

For more contests and giveaways, please come back another time, and/or join my quarterly-ish mailing list. The signup box is on the blog sidebar to the right.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Better luck next time!

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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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