Monday, August 15, 2011

Team Kilt untitleable-because-there-are-no-words Wrap-Up Post

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. --David Beckham (as quoted on the underside of an iced-tea bottle I drank Saturday night--no, I am NOT kidding you)
Aura: That's impossible.
Zachary: Seems like a lot of impossible things are happening. We may need to redefine that word.
--SHIFT, Chapter 10

Like Zachary's luminous advocates, Fictitious Delicious, I'm having a hard time writing a Team Kilt/YA Crush Tournament wrap-up post. I'm still processing what exactly happened over the last month, how a near-unknown guy went from last seed to giving Jace Wayland, the God of Crushes, a serious run for his money.

Some results:

--The final tally was 53-47%, 24,250-21, 385, for a total of 45,635 votes--amazing numbers that show just how loved these boys are. I'm still grinning from the fact that this many people got that excited over books. Also: previously in the tournament, the most any other character had gained against Jace was 35%. Late at night, the other side called for more votes to keep Zachary below 40%, but Team Kilt BOWS TO NO ONE. They took their opponent's challenge as their own, and actually closed the gap as the night wore on. No. Fear.

--Many, many prizes were given away. See below for details.

--Another $275 was raised for the Tartan Army Childrens Charity, bringing the tournament total to nearly $1500. Sweet! I'm leaving the donation form up until the end of the month, so if you enjoyed our little show, please consider giving $5-$10 to help the weans. Also, $1 of every purchase of Keeley Brothers merchandise (basically, my entire markup) will go to TACC.

--I posted several SHINElines and a couple of impromptu teasers. The teasers (#1 and #2) are here on the blog, and I'll post the full complement of SHINElines on Wednesday as a separate post, since this one will be pretty long.

--Zachary and Logan popped in for a Twttier chat at 2am, and Aura stopped by around 6am. Of course the first question she was asked was, "What does Zachary wear under his kilt?" *facepalm* Y'all have a one-track mind, and that track leads straight to UTK.

--Because Zachary received 5,000 votes, I will write the lyrics to "Forever," the song Logan sings to Aura in Shade as she pretends to sleep, the night before his testimony. Look for the lyrics (and possibly some music!) in time for the release of Logan's short story "Bridge" in the Enthralled anthology September 20.

--Because Zachary received 10,000 votes, the names of every member of Team Kilt will be printed in the acknowledgments of SHINE, coming May 1, 2012. If you voted for Zachary and want your name included, please email it to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com with the subject line "Team Kilt Final." Let me know how you want your name to appear.

--Because Zachary received 20,000 votes, I will fly to Minneapolis for Team Kilt Con, which will include a booksigning and hangout with the wonderful people who made it happen. (Note: this was originally the prize if he won, but I changed the rules once he reached 10,000 votes in less than twelve hours--we needed something to keep us going through the stratosphere.)

While it might not be impossible to express how it's made me feel (I'm learning not to use the "i" word except to refer to exceeding the speed of light), it's pretty close. So instead I'll try to thank all those who made it a Summer to Remember.

Of course, my biggest thanks goes to Amy and Jen at Fictitious Delicious. I posted before the final round how incredible they are, but at the time I hadn't seen nothin' yet! During the final round, they hosted a Team Kilt slumber party, complete with trivia, prizes, kilt avatars, music videos, movie clips, "kiltifying" by request, and so much more! I missed a lot of because it was going by so fast and I was always preparing the next SHINE snippet or teaser. And they were nice enough to let Logan and Zachary crash the party with a 2am chat, even though they're boys.

If you have time for some fun, you should visit FD's Team Kilt Hub, where videos and avis and poems and all other goodnesses are collected.

Thanks next to Karen (@teamsheltie) at For What It's Worth book blog. She coordinated a massive giveaway hop, giving Team Kilt something to look forward to at each voting increment, as well as a chance for other bloggers to contribute prizes of their own. See her wrap-up post for a list of her own prize winners. (I assume the other bloggers will contact their own winners.) Karen was also a cheerleader without peer.

Thanks to the Team Kilters who stayed up all night or got up early in the morning, all around the world (keeping Team Jace awake as well!). I'll try to list everyone, but I want to single out a few people:

--@MarissaOdom for her hilarious rhymes and knock-knock jokes. Seriously, there were moments when she was all that kept me awake and going.
--@BrookeWorm33 (Brooke Reports) for...well, everything. The giveaways, the crack-me-up tweets, the Irish/Scottish kilt avatar. I've said it before, but it means a lot coming from the CEO of LoganLove, Inc.
--@lindsiking and @ReadingWifeJac, for their heroic kilt-dancing videos.
--@makeshiftjen and @GReadsBooks, for their musical inspirations
--@3fixedhearts, for the cutest video ever, of her daughter Cadence (Team Edward) asking for your vote.
--@fiktshun, for giveaways and her heartfelt blog post.
--fellow YA author and Scot-lover, Cyndi Tefft, who gave away a copy of her own Scottish-set ghost story, Between.
--@evstout, who wrote her own poem.
--Stacey at @PageTurnersBlog for many, many giveaways and retweets.
--Samantha Stoner (@lilsammis) who donated to TACC and was a huge presence on Facebook
--One my favorite author friends--and brilliant new critique partner, Frankie Diane Mallis (@frankiediane)--for her insatiable Zachary addiction and a wonderful manuscript of her own to distract me from the tension of the early rounds.

And the rest of the cast: @jenduffey @Twinklesmile023 @DBetweenthepages @samk52 @iokijo @MarrisaOdom @mistye_1 @tamsbookramble @hefollowedme @librarygalreads @1of2chicksonbooks @luarroyave @Kimberdee @mistye_1 @BooksOverBoys @Neri0724 @precious_shusky @LitzaLou @idabosita @manyoceans @ReadingWifeJac @arnoldjamie13 @IsaBookSoulmate @ZoeRainDasher @SmashAttackAsh @Lena1xoxo @aprilmom00 @jware29 @tamsbookramble @Kimberdee @BritneyWyatt @JennM14 @louisse_ang @booglebum @brittanydhoward @evilqueen21 @litzalou @Ceileannn @iokijo @wedschild @RPattz @laurahunsaker @IsaBookSoulmate @EpicLynnMarie @bookluvrmindy @madhousemirror @frankiediane @ramenaddict @Dizzodin @Ash_Ash @NikkiOldenburg @SapphireNight83 @synfulsaleana99 @Jenababy13 @lovereadingx @KarenVTavares @AshelynnS @bookbrats @Dbetweenpage @Lynna316 @Shinyshoes12 @CatholicKittie @smj587 @heidsratasha @mekyser @jderucki @VioletaVia @JaniceFoy @TheBookGirl426 @mary_qp @cegluna @BookLabyrinth @twimom101 @violethrBR @Emberchyld, @MissyFonseca @arick01 @readingangel002 @BookwormLove @eveningreen @FearofLung
& Kendra from Facebook!

If I missed anyone, please let me know in the comments. I scrolled through the Team Kilt hashtag as far as I could (which made me a little teary-eyed, I confess) to gather usernames.

Thanks to YA Sisterhood for dreaming up this idea and then executing it so beautifully. It became so much bigger than any of us expected, but they rolled with it and kept it fun.

Special thanks to Cassandra Clare and Team Jace, who showed phenomenal sportsmanship even after they discovered they'd have to stay up all night to fend off the Pictish hordes. The fact that Cassie brought out "the big guns" incentive package showed a respect for Team Kilt that warmed my heart and pumped my pulse.

(By the way, Jace fans? YOU'RE WELCOME! It was Team Kilt's tough reputation that got you those teaser scenes and awesome giveaways. So when you're reading the DSCS, think of Zachary. Or wait--don't. That might disrupt some sort of space-time continuum of fiction.)

Even special-er thanks to my family, who didn't tell me I was crazy for caring about this. My husband was especially amazing, making sure I got enough to eat and drink during that last round (he was away on a business trip the night of the Tod matchup, sadly. I think I had popcorn for dinner that night).

As always, I have to thank music, in this case Frightened Rabbit, a band from Glasgow who are my new obsession. I played their latest release, Winter of Mixed Drinks, approximately fifty times in a row this last week. I also saw them open for Death Cab for Cutie Sunday night, in one of many weird serendipities during this tournament. Like Team Kilt, they are bold, hardworking, and kick an unexpected amount of arse.

Speaking of which, the last YA Crush Tourney giveaway. At the concert, Frightened Rabbit sold an EP CD that is not available for download or sale anywhere but at their US shows. Because I love them so, so hard, and because I'm a little addicted to giving stuff away, I'll send one of my spare EPs to someone who comments on this post by 11:59pm Thursday, August 18.

Aw, hell, I'll throw in a CD of Winter of Mixed Drinks, too.

Here's a bootleg video of them performing the first song on the EP, "Scottish Winds." Seems a fitting way to end this all--with music, a killer accent, and a wee dose of profanity.

Until next time, Team Kilt: you rock.

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Impromptu SHINE teaser #2

And...a different video chat with Aura (in Baltimore) and Zachary (in Glasgow). This one takes place just after the autumn equinox. Zachary has just remarked how his parents remind him of Lady and the Tramp.

The xxx's are to prevent spoilers/confusion.

Like before, this is a pretty rough draft, so forgive the lack of elegant prose.


“Did you see a lot of Disney movies growing up?”

“Aye, I loved them. I thought America would be like that. Bright colors, singing and dancing. Heroes and villains easy to tell apart.”

“Was it like you imagined?”

“It was almost as colorful. And God knows, people sing and dance on television constantly. But the good guys and bad guys weren’t as clear as I thought they’d be.”

His gaze shadowed, and I waited for him to tell me xxxx xxx xxx xxx xxxx xx xxx.

Instead he brightened and dusted the powdered sugar off his hands. “We’ve had a bit of drama around here, too.”

“Good drama?”

“Bad and good. Martin, my best mate from the neighborhood—” He cut himself off and spoke bitterly. “My only mate now. He’s moved in with us.”

“‘Only one now’? I thought you were hanging out with all your old friends.”

“Not after what they did to Martin last week. After he came out of the closet.”

“Did they beat him up?”

“Naw, it wasn’t as if he was doing something truly shocking, like supporting the wrong football club.” He wiped a spot of sugar off the corner of his mouth. “But they said stupid things, the bastards. He got angry, which he deserved to be, and next thing I know, I’m caught in the middle. I had to choose. It was easy.” He frowned. “No, not easy. But simple.”

“That sucks.”

“It does, because on any other day, any of us lads’d take a punch—or a bullet—for any o’ the others.”

“So why’s Martin living with you? Did his parents kick him out?”

“No’ officially. But they suddenly decided that now he's seventeen and not at university, he should start paying rent. My parents said he could stay here for free, on the condition that he cheers me up.”

“Is he?”

He nodded. “I can’t wait for you to come and meet him.”

My belly warmed at the idea of visiting him in Glasgow. That wasn’t part of our December itinerary, so it meant he was thinking ahead. Part of his “plan.”

“Is he home? Can I say hi?”

“Aye, he’d adore you. He’s at work now, at a pub down the road, but it’s Monday, so they should’ve closed by now.” He suddenly started, as if remembering something. “Oh.”

“What’s wrong?”

Zachary leaned in close and spoke in a near-whisper. “There's something you need to know about me and Martin.”

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Impromptu SHINE teaser

OK, folks, as promised if Zachary hit 2500 votes by 1:17, the rest of the Aura/Zachary video chat!

Backing up a bit first. Aura's in her room in Baltimore, Zachary's in his room in Glasgow. They're just a few weeks away from their rendezvous in Ireland, where they'll...solve some mysteries. And other stuff.

Forgive how raw and basic this is. This scene hasn't gone through editorial enhancements yet.


"Look," he said. "Don't think I expect us to--just because we'll have a room together doesn't mean we need to--"

"Yes, we do." I reached out to the screen to touch his lips. "I need to. With you."

"Oh." His eyelids went heavy. "Me, too.

My pulse pounded with a sudden craving for him. "I wish you were here right now."

Zachary's dark eyelashes flashed as he leaned in. "I am there right now." He lifted his hand to a spot below the camera. "Guess where I'm touching you?"

I held back a moan of frustration and gave him a wicked smile. "Here?" I fingered the top button of my pajama shirt.

He clicked his tongue. "What d'ye take me for, lass? I'll no' be groping you long-distance. Guess again."

I swept my hand over my neck. "Here?"

"You're getting warmer."

It was true--literally. I hoped he couldn't see me sweat at the thought of his hands on me.

I touched my cheek. "Here?"

"A bit warmer."

I smooshed the tip of my nose. "Here."

"Boiling hot."

I let my fingers drift down an inch, brushing my parted lips. "Here?" I whispered, though it came out "Heah?" because my tongue was frozen with tension, so I couldn't make the "r."

"Aye." He touched his fingers to his own lips, then reached for the camera. I did the same on my end, and for a moment, our virtual touch-kiss blotted out our views of each other.

Then he whispered, "We'd best get to sleep now. Not that I'll be able to."

For once I thought he meant for a good reason.

"I'll see you soon."

He nodded once. "And then 'Goodnight' won't be just another word for 'Goodbye.'"

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Ze Big Announcement - Incentives for Zachary's YA Crush Tourney FINAL

As I mentioned Tuesday morning during my homage to Team Kilt, Zachary is in the final round of the YA Crush Tournament against his most formidable foe yet! Voting begins at 9am eastern and continues for 24 hours.


Win or lose, we will be partying hard. I'll be posting SHINE snippets, music videos, movie clips, and any other Zachary-related inspiration I can think of, all day and all night, on the #TeamKilt hashtag. Several people have promised to post their Zach-inspired playlists, trivia questions, and pictures of guys in kilts. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of that?

Later, Zach's outstanding advocates at Fictitious Delicious are hosting an online Slumber Party tonight, so go to their Team Kilt Hub to keep up with the latest festivities as they're updated during the day and night.

But winning is the most fun of all, so let's make it happen!

Beginning at 8am eastern, an hour before voting begins, check out For What It's Worth's giveaway hop to see the prizes to be had when Zachary reaches different vote increments. Signed books, agent critiques, concert T-shirts, DVDs, and more! To enter, just show Zachary some love in the tournament-post comments after you vote (FOR HIM, yes). If you're a blogger who wants to hold your own giveaway, just link to it at the bottom of the giveaway hop post using Mr. Linky.

Second, consider pledging a donation to the Tartan Army Childrens Charity. We raised over $1200 in the previous two rounds, so let's keep helping out the weans!

Third, beginning at 9am eastern, VOTE VOTE VOTE! Spread the word, to friends, family, enemies, bosses, underlings, and random strangers in the street. (One vote per browser per device. Probably.)

And now, what you've probably skimmed down here to read...INCENTIVES

I've given you four SHINE teasers, including the now-infamous shower scene, plus 20 SHINE snippets. I'll continue to tweet/Facebook snippets through the final round's voting, but I've run out of non-spoilery scenes to share.

So here's what I'll do:

Logan fans have been incredibly generous with their time and passion on behalf of Zachary, which means so much to me, considering many of them probably wish Zachary would become a ghost himself (I'm looking at you, Brooke!).

So for them, something I've been asked for many times but was too chicken to try....

1. If Zachary gets 5,000 votes, I will write lyrics to "Forever," the song Logan sings to Aura in her sleep the night before his testimony near the end of Shade. The scene that makes everyone, including me, bawl their eyes out. I've never written a song before, except the chorus of the song in Requiem for the Devil that I probably can't name without getting this blog post blocked by obscenity screens (my friend Greg wrote the verses). So it might take more than a few days. But I'll have it done in time for the release of Logan's story "Bridge" in the Enthralled anthology that comes out September.

2. If Zachary gets 10,000 votes, I will list every Team Kilt member's name in the acknowledgments of SHINE. That's right--not just a short story like in the last round, but a print book released by a major publisher. Your name could be in it, but 10,000 votes is a very high goal--the last two rounds had 10,000 votes combined between the characters.

In the event he reaches 10,000 votes and you'd like to have your name in the acknowledgments, let me know you voted for him by sending an email to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com and using the subject line "TeamKilt." This'll be on the honor system, so BE HONORABLE.


Um...this one requires some explanation...

A couple weeks ago, during Round 3, several people asked Zachary on Twitter if he would reveal "what's under the kilt" if he won. He cheekily (and foolishly) said that would be the prize for winning Round 5, the final round.

Boys. *sighs* Whaddya gonna do?

Obviously, he didn't think he'd even reach Round 4, much less Round 5, much less have a chance to win. He underestimated the power of Team Kilt.

So...*drags feet*

3. If Zachary wins, you will all get to see what's under the kilt.


Technically, the age of majority in Scotland is sixteen, which he is even in the beginning of SHADE. But I'm going by American standards here. In SHIFT and most of SHINE, he's still seventeen.

But during SHINE, he and Aura turn Ballyrock Castle. I've written a scene that will most likely be left out or trimmed due to excessive hotness, but either way, I promise you'll get to read it, either in the book or as a deleted scene, once SHINE is released.

And ye shall know what's under the kilt...


Happy? Good.

Real-life, non-fiction incentive

I've grown to know and love the members of Team Kilt over the last month. New people have joined at every round and kept me laughing through each nail-biting contest. When Fictitious Delicious said they were having a Team Kilt Slumber party for the final round, I thought, "Aww, I wish I could come. It would be great to meet everyone."



4. If Zachary wins, I will fly to Minneapolis for a booksigning and get-together with Amy, Jen, and any Team Kilt member who can join us. We can call it TeamKiltCon and get the convention rate at a hotel or something. Details will be worked out later, but I will absolutely buy every member of Team Kilt the drink of their choice. Yes, even single-malt Scotch, if you're old enough.

So there you have it. These things I offer, not because I have to, but because they're fun and I love you.

But to get them you have to go vote at 9am eastern! Vote like the wind! (No, not like the wind, because the wind doesn't vote. Vote like a person who really wants to vote!)

And if you're on Twitter, stay tuned to #TeamKilt for shenanigans and #SHINEline for snippets.

Support our boy, and most of all, have fun!

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

TACC fundraising pledge post

(psst! Here's the link for the Team Kilt homage post, if that's what you came for.)

In Rounds 3 and 4 of the YA Crush Tournament, Team Kilt raised $450 and $770(+20 pounds) for the Tartan Army Childrens Charity, a group that helps needy children in Scotland and in other countries where the national football (soccer) side (team) supporters (fans) travel to support their boys.

The thing is, I'd start off each round with one pledge--in Round 3 it was me, and in Round 4 it was Fictitious Delicious--and then other people would jump in to join. I'm not very organized, so I had trouble keeping track, so it took about ten minutes of recalculating each time I wanted to give an update. I actually used the back of an envelope. This envelope, in fact:

My cat chewed it. The other numbers in a row were generated by the random number generator when I drew a winner for SHINE ARCs and Keeley Brothers T-shirts. I always tell it to give me more than one, because INVARIABLY the first number turns out to be me. D'oh!

But now, thanks to Google Docs, I can keep track of tomorrow's Round 5 (THE FINAL ROUND--AAAAAH!!!!) pledges easily. After all, there are only so many empty envelopes in this house.

Don't forget to vote for Zachary tomorrow, Wednesday August 10, 9am eastern through Thursday, 9am eastern. Thank you again for all your support--Team Kilt RAWKS!

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Not About a Boy: why you should vote for Zach no matter how much you love Jace

(Update: Round 5 reader incentives are now posted.)

So here we are, the final matchup of the YA Crush Tournament. Tomorrow, the 25th- and last-seeded Zachary Moore goes up against the second-seeded Jace Wayland from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.

Here's some fun stuff that'll happen:

  • As before, we'll raise money for the Tartan Army Childrens Charity, both on a per-vote basis and a bonus if Zachary wins. I'll put up a pledge form on the blog if you want to get in on the action. So far TeamKilt has raised over $1200 to help needy kids in Scotland and other countries where the national football side plays (last year they donated 130,000 pounds to help disabled and orphaned children in Lithuania and the Czech Republic).
  • I'll tweet more snippets from SHINE under the hashtag #SHINEline. I might have to make it every 250 votes instead of 100 votes, since last time I couldn't keep up--which is awesome!
  • Assorted giveaways, including signed copies of SHADE, SHIFT, and the ENTHRALLED anthology--plus one of those super-rare ARCs of SHINE (there are only 5 left up for grabs ever).
  • And of course, the Big Incentives. So far I've posted four SHINE teasers (including a blasted shower scene) and promised a short story from Zachary's point-of-view, with all members of TeamKilt listed in the dedication (if you voted for Zach and want your name included, send an e-mail to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com with the subject line TEAMKILT before Round 5 voting begins).
  • 1. I've got a Big Incentive for Logan fans, something people have been asking for since SHADE came out but I've been too nervous to try. More on that later.
  • 2. And something really Really REALLY big for Zachary fans. A special thank-you to those who've supported him this last month.
It's going to be tough. I said once that Will is more popular than Jesus, but Jace is more popular than all three parts of the Holy Trinity put together, PLUS the Buddha. Every matchup of his so far has been an outright slaughterfest. He doesn't just beat his opponents, he annihilates them. (So...maybe the Buddha analogy doesn't really work. Never mind.)

I confess, when I think about going up against Cassie Clare, I get a little queasy and have to go lie down for a while. I'm in awe of her, so much so that when we were on a panel together at the RT Convention in April, I was too shy to introduce myself, sitting three feet away.

But this isn't about me.

Is it about Zachary? A dude from an almost-unknown series, who wasn't even the main love interest in the first book? I love him, I do. To me, Zach's more than the accent or the kilt that people make such a fuss over. He's kind and patient and loyal and proud. And if you mess with his friends or the girl he loves, he'll kick yer ***k**' arse. (Just ask Brian Knox, or those jerkwads at Ridgewood who spread rumors about Aura after Logan's death.)

If it is about the boys, then maybe Jace deserves to win. He has more fans, and more books, and he was created by one of the nicest, hardest-working authors in the business.

But to me, this is no longer about the boys. It's about the girls.

Namely, Amy and Jen from Fictitious Delicious, who have gone above and beyond ANY reasonable expectations of character advocates. They've written poems, handed out flyers and candy at booksignings, and made this video that, I'm sorry, is ten times more evocative than most of the stuff that authors and publishers pay buttloads of cash for.

Amy and Jen also created Team Kilt and recruited so many readers and bloggers to join--they'll make a rhyme out of your Twitter handle if you use the button as your avi--that my tweet-stream has turned to a sea of plaid. They've devoted days and weeks of their lives to getting Zachary to the next round, and the next, and the next.

I've already described their dogged determination in the wee hours of Saturday morning that kept Zach close enough to win with a last-minute surge. Jen said she cried when Zachary himself checked in at 7am and she had to tell him he was behind by 600 votes.

Aaaack, just thinking about it is making me cry. I don't know what I did to deserve them.

*wipes tear, puts game face on*

So to me, this final round isn't about a boy. It's about a girl and a girl, and hundreds of other girls and guys who've supported Zachary since July 8.

Do I deserve to win this tourney? No. Does Zachary deserve to win it? Maybe.

But anyone who says that Team Kilt doesn't deserve this victory has to be blind, deaf, and heartless. So if you think hard work and sacrifice and sheer amaze-tastilicious cleverness should be rewarded, please vote for Zachary Wednesday, from 9am eastern until the same time Thursday. Not for me, not for him, but for these wonderful ladies:

Until today, Team Kilt has fought for me. But now, I'm fighting for them.


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Sunday, August 07, 2011

oh...em...ZEE--Zachary made the FINAL!

If this post is only semi-coherent, it's because I'm still suffering from a mixture of sleep deprivation and adrenaline overdose from yesterday morning's *literally* last-minute rally of TeamKilt, to send Shade/Shift's Zachary Moore to the YA Crush Tournament finals and raise over 800 more dollars for the Tartan Army Childrens Charity!
I. Am. Not. Kidding you.

Yes, the same Zachary Moore, 25th and last seed, who just a few weeks ago was a virtual unknown in YA HotLandia (not to be confused with Zachary's own country of Hotland). You can read how he got this far over on the blog of his advocates, Fictitious Delicious, in their series of Epic Adventures in Kilt Land:

Part One: On How Zach went from last to Fine Four (part 1)

Part Two: "BRRRR... it's chilly in here!", "Hey, is that really a pig flying?!" or How Zach got to the CHAMPIONSHIP! (part 2 of 3)

It wasn't just the fact that he won that had TeamKilt members dancing and hugging and crying on Twitter yesterday at 9am eastern. It was the way it happened.

See, I stayed up most of the night watching them rally and cheer and urge people to vote for Zachary. I kept posting snippets of SHINE (all 20 of which are listed below) to keep them entertained. But my brain was starting to break down until I could no longer do anything but stare at the manuscript with glazed eyes.

Zachary stayed close until 3am, when he started to fall behind due to the enormous rallying power of his opponents, TodsLegions, stumping for the ever-awesome reaper Tod Hudson of Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series. Team Kilt had met their hardest competition yet. Honestly, as night turned into dawn, I thought TodsLegions were unbeatable. They were so determined, so organized, and so, well, legion.

And Rachel was right there, offering amazing incentives to her amazing fans. I had to improvise with Keeley Brothers T-shirts and SHINE ARCs just to keep up. But when I finally lay down for a "nap" at 6:09am, Zachary was behind by over 600 votes.

Yet...Team Kilt was still there. Some went to bed, but others joined in from Australia, New Zealand, the Phillippines. I met readers I'd never heard from before. I had NO IDEA Zach had so many fans.

When I woke at 7:30, the scene wasn't pretty. Zachary was behind by over 700 votes (roughly 4100-4800), and Team Kilt said that the more they tweeted, the more the other team would surge. I felt their frustration, but more than that, their determination and their fighting spirit.

So I had an idea. Something that would let them go out in style, with the PRIDE that, along with patience, is Zachary's defining characteristic (the accent and kilt are nice, but they're not what make Zach Zach).

With an hour to go in voting, I announced that if Zachary got 5000 votes, WIN OR LOSE, I would still write his short story, and I would dedicate it to each TeamKilt member. By name. Like the Lord of the Rings DVDs, where every fanclub member has their name listed in the closing credits (it takes about an hour to show all of them--the entire score plays again).

This, um, had an effect. The votes started to build. At first I would refresh the page and see 5 or 10 extra votes. Then 20. Then 30. People were calling their friends and neighbors, downloading browsers they'd never heard of onto their phones and computers so they could vote again.

Even TodsLegions were kind enough to retweet my offer when I asked. I told them there was no way we could beat them (they already had 5000 at 8am, so I figured if they kept voting the way they had been, they'd be well above it by the time we hit 5K at 9am).

I swear, I wasn't trying to win. I just wanted to give something back to TeamKilt for their dedication. I owed them.

And I wanted to write Zachary's story. I owed him.

But then, like a plaid tsunami, TeamKilt hit 5000 votes around 8:56am. There was much rejoicing.

And they kept going.

And for whatever reason, TodsLegions had stopped voting with the force they'd shown all night. Maybe they were mesmerized by the onslaught of screaming, face-painted Pictish hordes coming over the hill.

But somewhere between 8:59 and 9am...Zachary took the lead and finished 58 votes ahead. And there was much rejoicing. And general freaking out. Which I wanted to stay and take part in, but my dog really had to pee.

(Meadow and the cats were so patient--normally they eat breakfast at 7:30. This was only one of many miracles that allowed this to happen.)


We get a short rest until the final round, which is this Wednesday, August 10. Voting starts at 9am eastern and goes for twenty-four hours. TeamKilt and I are already scheming lots of great prizes and incentives and fun activities, so you want to come early and stay for the show. Whoever Zachary meets, Ash or Jace, it's going to be an uphill battle.

But that's what screaming, face-painted Pictish hordes are best at.


And now, the SHINElines, in order. Eventually I'll put this in a separate post for easy linkage. As I mentioned in the last post, the one with the PG-13 shower scene teaser, I promised to tweet a snippet from SHINE every time Zachary got another 100 votes. This became impossible after a while, so I still owe you guys 32 snippets.

Anyway, here they are. In some cases the snippet was too long for one, so I combined them for a 200-vote tweet. Unless otherwise noted, the lines belong to Aura.

1. I lifted my other phone & whispered, "He's alive."

2. Hadn't they heard? Didn't they care that the world had fallen down?

3. I want to drag him away, where his mom & dad & our govts can never find him.

4. Zachary and the world ripped apart in fire and fear.

5. Dylan: "Remember on the ride here, you told us to stop you from acting like a drunk-ass fool?" Megan: "No."

6. "Is there a 'kill me, I'm stupid' sign taped to my back?"

7. Martin, on Zachary: "Not my type. I like my lads blond & dumb & emo as humanly possible."

8. Calling us "kids"? Fastest way to get our our bad side.

9. Simon: "The Irish love their ghosts." Aura: "You let that stop you?" Simon: "Officially, yes."

10. Zachary, regarding Logan: "He told me I was stupid, that if I really loved you, I should've tried harder."

11-12. The ancients must have known just how right it could be--life & love & birth & death--so they'd built Newgrange to capture & honor this union of stone & sky.

13-14. The future seemed so close, like I could reach out and grab it. I would lock it away for safekeeping. I would guard it with my life.

15. Dylan: "He asked if I could bring hot girls. I said yeah, plus my sister."

(That was the most retweeted SHINEline of the night.)

16. Gina: "Don't use my life lessons to argue for a sleepover with your boyfriend."

17. The human in me was in charge now, barely.

18. As I fell to my knees, the stars disappeared.

19. The voice bounced in my head like an iron mace, puncturing every brain cell as it passed through.

20. Zachary: "I promise, it won't matter what you wear. I won't see it. I want you now, & I'll want you then, more than anyone ever wanted anyone."

Hmm, I don't know if they're as effective all laid out in a row like that. Pretend you're reading them an hour apart.

Tuesday I'll post chapter three of "Let it Bleed," and then Wednesday is the Big Day! Wait'll you see what TeamKilt has in store for you!

If you haven't watched it already, you must check out this amazing video that Amy at Fictitious Delicious made for Zachary. It's just...perfect.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Round 3 teaser, and on to--aaaah!--Zachary's Round 4

As you may know, Zachary won his last matchup in YA Sisterhood's YA Crush Tournament last Wednesday, sending him to the Final Four!
Can you believe it? Just a few weeks ago, he was a lowly 25th and last seed. He's beaten dudes from infinitely better-known books. How? Through the hard work and immense creativity of his advocates, Fictitious Delicious.

My bribes didn't hurt, either.

Anyway, the next round is going on now, now, now, until 9am eastern tomorrow. You can vote once per computer or handheld device, so you know, if you happen to be stopping by the library, or at a friend's house....

I promised to post another Shine teaser if he won last week, and to donate $100 to the Tartan Army Children's Charity. Several bloggers and a fellow YA author pitched in, so our total was $450!

So this week...the bribe incentive is something bigger. Things always have to get bigger. Such is the way of storytelling.

And more complicated, because win or lose, good things will happen today if Zachary's supporters come out and vote.

For every 100 votes he receives, the following will happen:

1a) His advocates, Fictitious Delicious, will donate $5 to TACC. The last matchup had about 2500 votes on each side, so this could be huge.

b) An anonymous donor (not me, I swear, I'm poor now) will match total donations UP TO $500! (Edited to add: another blogger has just agreed to match another $50!)

2) I will tweet a snippet from Shine, under the hashtag #SHINEline. If you're not on Twitter, don't worry--I'll compile the lines and put them in a blog post next week, and that'll serve as the Shine teaser. After today, there are very few spoiler-free Zachary scenes. I never expected him to make it this far. Oops!


3) Fictitious Delicious will give away an ARC of SHINE.

Now, let me explain something really important:

My publisher does not print ARCs for third books in a series. But I'll be printing my own ARCs, a limited run of 20, because they're extremely expensive to make.

That's right:


Of these 20, 8 are already spoken for by SHIFT blog tour winners, which leaves


for you. Possibly.

3 now belong to Fictitious Delicious, Zach's advocates, because I told them they'd get one for every round of the tournament Zachary won.

Bottom line: these are super, super rare. If you want one, learn how you can win it from Fictitious Delicious today! Hint: it involves voting for Zach and getting other people to do it, too.

All that will happen even if Zachary loses. I want this round to be a fun. Getting to the Final Four, the Big Dance, is a party in itself.


I'll write and publish a short story from his point-of-view. Maybe from his pre-Aura days, maybe from a period during one of the books. Maybe from the future. Who knows? It'll come out either right before or right after Shine's publication, depending when it takes place.

So if you want more of the SHADE world, go vote for Zachary! (As of 9:45am, he's falling behind!)

And now, the Round Three-reward teaser, aka the grand finale....

(Note: the xxx's in the text are parts I had to redact to avoid spoilers/confusion.)

(Obligatory disclaimer: this is a relatively rough version. It hasn't even been line edited, much less copyedited or proofread. So it's likely to improve a ton before the final version.)

Setting: Hotel room, somewhere in Northern Ireland. December 22. Evening. Aura and Zachary have had a Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.


Zachary held still while I wound the bandage around his chest to cover the xxxxx xxxx.

Mostly still, anyway. After his fifth wince, he said, “Ever notice in the movies, the hero gets shot or stabbed and never even blinks, but when the beautiful girl is nursing his wounds, he can’t stop flinching?”

“That’s because of adrenaline. And Hollywood.” My face warmed at his indirectly calling me “beautiful.”

I pressed the last piece of tape onto his back, smoothing it against the gauze, then slid my fingers up and over the unbroken skin of his bare shoulder.

Zachary closed his eyes and breathed in deep. “Aura, d’ye think we could end this not-touching-each-other shite? It’s frankly killing me, as sure as any knife.”

“Me, too.”

I leaned forward to kiss him, but he slipped around me, tugging me out of the bathroom and toward the bed.

I stopped. “Wait. I still feel weird, after the xxxxxx, like xxxx’xx...xx me. Plus I’m kind of gross.” I held up my other arm, still faintly blood-stained. “Maybe if I take a shower—”

He let go of my hand. “Go. Hurry.”

“I’ll be quick.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

The hot water was just what I needed. Cascading over my scalp and shoulders, it chased away the last shadows of clamminess. I rested my palms against the sandy-tiled wall and let the flood caress the back of my neck, loosening the tension of the last twenty-four hours of—well, almost dying.

I’d been in the shower less than two minutes when a knock came at the door.

“Yeah?” I heard the door open. “Forget something?”

“Aye.” A sliver of curtain peeled back, enough to show one of Zachary’s vibrant green eyes, dark with desire. “I forgot how hard it is to think of you in the shower.”

I shifted back, the water now between us, blurring his image. “There’s not much room in here.”

“Aye.” He stepped inside, putting half his body under the spray. The lower half.

I lifted my hands. “Your bandage’ll get wet.”

“Aye.” He took my wrists and moved forward, pinning me against the hard, slick wall, arms above my head. Then he kissed me, settling himself fully under the stream of steaming water. Water that flowed from his once-forbidden skin onto mine, its path unbroken by air or space.

With my hands in his grasp and his name on my lips, I could believe that nothing—not even time itself—could tear us apart.



I saved the best for last, a video presentation for Zachary by Fictitious Delicious. It made me cry. And laugh. And realize that after knowing Team Kilt, no matter how the vote goes, I've already won.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!

I'm really excited to be taking part in the YA Scavenger Hunt, coordinated by Tiger's Curse author Colleen Houck. Today and today only, you can win tons of great prizes, given by the individual authors on the tour, plus a grand prize, which will include signed editions of books, signed bookmarks, jewelry, and many more exclusive gifts with at least one from every author on the tour!

Not only that, on this hunt you will gain access to exclusive bonus material, sign up for giveaways, and get an all-access pass to top secret insider information--sneak peeks into what's coming up in YA literature.

For One. Day. Only.

(See the bottom of this post for a special SHADE-related giveaway!)

Grand prize contest--Scavenger Hunt Puzzle

Directions: Copy and paste the puzzle below onto a document or blank email page and fill it out as you proceed through the Scavenger Hunt. Search for keywords, one on each website that will be highlighted in RED, insert them into the puzzle, then fill out the YA Scavenger Google form here.

Rules: To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit this filled-in puzzle before 11:59pm Pacific Time, Monday, August 1. All the keywords must be in the correct place, and you must include your full name and address. Entries sent in without name and address will not be considered!


Welcome fans of young adult literature! Don’t forget to _______ up in time to join our special event! In ____________ you roll the dice and, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Our scavenger hunt is very similar. Surprises wait around every corner. Turn one page and you’re chasing a _________ through a _________ _____________. Turn another and you are being ________ by a _______ which leaves your heart ________. YA ________s are full of ___________ heroes who must ___________ themselves for the greater good. Some of the characters travel through ______ or have a _________ __________. If there is one thing YA books have taught us, it’s that if you leave your ___________ keep an eye out for a patrolling ________. They’re very dangerous. Maybe not so frightening as a ____________, but still you should be careful. Also beware lest you become __________ by vampires. ______________ one is a different story. Just remember that bite has ___________ ramifications and that afterwards the sun can ______ you unless you get bitten by a glittering type. Whether you like dark, paranormal, romance, fantasy, ___________, Sci-Fi, or a combination of those, we’ve got something for you.
We think that each fan is a __________ and we love you all!


Now let's get on with the HUNT! I am so excited to be hosting the fantabulous Lani Woodland, fellow "ghost writer"! I met Lani at the RT Convention, and she is the sweetest!

Lani Woodland has been an avid reader since elementary school when she first discovered the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins series. In sixth grade she began writing plays and recruiting (with force when necessary) her friends to act them out. Most of these early works were inspired by She-Ra, the epitome of girl power to her young self.

She graduated from BYU with a BS in Family Science. Lani has always loved scary stories, and has a hard time enjoying any book without at least a little romance in it. She lives in Southern California with her husband, their two children and a large collection of board games. She has worked as a spot-welder, babysitter, janitor, photographer, gymnastics coach, and movie extra. She enjoys bonfires at the beach, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, speed talking, chocolate as a cure-all, and the word "precisely".

Lani's upcoming novel is Indelible, the sequel to 2010's Intrinsical, about a girl who can communicate with ghosts, an ability handed down through the female members of her family. We like those kinds of books here. ;-)

More about Indelible:

Yara is beginning to understand just how much her life has changed now that she is a full-fledged Waker. After narrowly escaping death during her junior year, all she wants is a ghost-free senior year at Pendrell Academy with her boyfriend Brent and her best friend Cherie. But Yara soon discovers that there are more dark secrets in her school’s history than just the curse she broke last year. While an angry ghost makes Yara question everything she thought she knew about spirits, she and Brent learn that they might not have escaped last year as unscathed as they thought. Yara finds herself in the center of another deadly mystery, and this time all of her enemies might not be dead.

Check this out! An EXCLUSIVE look (that means it's nowhere else but here, today) at Chapter Two of Indelible. Woo-hoo!

I took a deep breath before taking a step forward. I just had to remind myself I wasn’t supposed to be afraid of ghosts.

“Where is it?” Sophia hissed, her fear and fury slamming against me. I backtracked into Brent, crushing his toes under my heels. “You took it!”

“Back up, back up, back up,” I whispered to Brent. He listened and we started slinking further into the depths of the third floor. I turned toward Sophia. “I didn’t take it.”

Her hands flew to her face, her eyes widened impossibly, and a heartbreaking wail burst from her.

“It’s gone!” she wailed. “All these years! It’s gone!”

Her red curls straightened, standing on end like she’d put her finger in a light socket. Her scream cut off and she grew to twice her size, her pale skin flaming red. She seemed to morph before my eyes from a proper, if angry, socialite, to fury-fueled psychopath. The heat of her anger washed over me like scalding water.

Brent’s hand tightened on my arms as we distanced ourselves from the stairs. My eyes never left Sophia. I knew she needed help, but it was hard to think of helping her when I was afraid she was going to kill me.

“This is your fault,” Sophia screamed.

She surged forward, her face contorted with rage. Despite my confidence in my necklace’s protection, I recoiled against Brent as she reached for me. I didn’t flinch as her nails drew near, expecting them to slide right through me. But not only did her fingers connect with me, they melted through my skin, closing around my spirit’s wrist. I gasped as pain lanced through my wrist and radiated up my arm. For a split second she paused, like she too was surprised, but then her eyes glinted with something horrible.

“Do you know what you’ve done?” she shrieked at me, her voice crashing against my eardrums. The ghost’s deranged howls filled my ears as her glowing red eyes made my insides shudder. “You led them here.”

I blinked in confusion at her hand on my wrist. She shouldn’t have been able to touch me. She shouldn’t have been able to hurt me. But she did, on both accounts. Terror washed through me as she yanked hard on my wrist. My spirit rattled inside my body, my ghostly head smacking against my physical skull.

“Yara!” Brent cried, as Sophia yanked me out of his arms and onto the floor with a painful thud. I winced as the skin underneath her fingers began to freeze from the inside out with a cold so intense it burned. I tried desperately to free my arm, but she only tightened her grip, driving the cold deeper.

Brent crouched down beside me and gaped at the purpling marks appearing on my wrist.

“Brent, she’s hurting me,” I said between chattering teeth. Sophia’s fingers wrapped more securely around my wrist.

“Tell me how to get rid of her,” Brent said in a hushed voice, his eyes frantic. He couldn’t see her, and he needed my help. I could handle this. I had to handle this. Vovó wasn’t here. I steeled my nerves, pushing away the pain and burning ache of her cold fingers, and tried to grasp at any of the lessons Vovó had taught me, but I came up blank. I hadn’t been trained for this. I gritted my teeth. “I don’t know. But she won’t let go.”

Brent’s eyes slid closed, and when they reopened, the panicked look was gone, replaced by a quiet intensity. He stood fluidly and his brown eyes zeroed in on where he knew Sophia must be. With a flick of his wrist, he swirled his fingers in an arc, sending a blast of air tunneling down the hall.

The wind hit her and batted her around, but she didn’t vanish or turn into smoke like Thomas had last year. Brent’s brute force and elemental manipulation might not be enough. Sophia turned toward him, her harsh eyes focusing on Brent as he conjured the storm.

He brought his hands together and pushed one hand palm out toward us, hitting us with another strong gust of air, its strength building to a roar. Wind zoomed past me, ripping the bobby pins from my hair. Sophia’s gauzy dress whipped around her and my hair stung my eyes, obscuring my vision.

The coppery taste of blood blanketed my tongue as my teeth sunk into my bottom lip, biting back a scream of pain. My arm burned as if it had been plunged into a frozen river and I could no longer feel my fingers. Her touch stole the heat from my body, and my brain began to go numb.

The wind suddenly died and I tossed my hair out of my eyes, immediately seeking Brent. He cupped his hands together, like he was holding a ball, collecting the elements for a stronger attack. He pointed one finger at Sophia and the flood of air hit her right in the chest. She lost her footing and took a steadying step to the side, releasing me. Warmth licked through me like a vapor of smoke and I cradled my arm to my chest, limping forward toward Brent.

Brent lowered his hands to reach for me, and the storm immediately ceased. “Where did she go?”

My outstretched fingers were inches from him when Sophia grabbed me from behind, seizing my hair and yanking it hard, ripping a fistful of strands from the scalp.

“Ow!” I yelped when she jerked me back toward her.

Several locks of hair that had torn loose floated to the floor, the dark strands reflecting glimmers of light in their fall. Brent’s eyes darkened, turning almost black as he tracked their descent. He raised his hands and the corridor was instantly in motion again. The windows and mirrors vibrated and the paintings banged against the walls. Sophia glared at Brent, her tawny eyes freezing over. She pulled me closer to her with another fierce tug on my hair. Her other hand slid around my waist and I was trapped in her iron embrace.

“Tell him to stop,” she growled from between clenched teeth.

“No.” I trembled all over, but I pushed away my fright, trying to awaken my inner Vovó, knowing she’d know what to do. “I can help you,” I finally managed.

She laughed. “I’m not the one who needs help!” She pulled me closer, using me as a shield from Brent’s attack. Her cold breath spread across my face.

Brent couldn’t see her, but with my neck twisted at such an unnatural angle, he could tell where she stood. He stretched out his fingers with a determined look and launched a bolt of air so forceful that Sophia and I both staggered back. Her grip loosened enough that I was able to break away, and fall to the floor. Sophia lunged at me but stopped suddenly in mid-air, like she had hit a wall. She hung there for a split second before being thrown backwards like a bungee jumper at the end of a cord. She jetted toward me again, but bounced off once more. She raged and snarled like a rabid dog as she came at me a third time. This time the wall wavered a bit and I felt a current of air blow in my face. Brent let out a strained grunt and his upraised arms shook as if he struggled with a heavy weight. Finally I understood what kept her away. Brent. He had created an air-shield around me.

Sophia eyed Brent and I shivered; she had figured it out too. She inhaled deeply, like a vacuum stealing oxygen from the room.

“Brent—” I started to warn, but I couldn’t finish. I coughed; my lungs burned from lack of air. Brent’s face turned red in his struggle to hold the force of his storm and breathe at the same time. Then Sophia’s inhalation stopped. She twisted her mouth in a cruel smile right before she exhaled an icy blast of air straight at Brent.

He staggered as if fighting his way through a wind tunnel. His hair and clothes whipped behind him, and he stumbled backward, slamming against the wall with a groan. Held prisoner by her torrent of air, he struggled to raise his arms against the onslaught, trying to defend himself. He gasped against the air that forced its way down his throat and into his lungs.

I pounded against the shield that separated me from Brent and Sophia, the air rippling against my palms, but Brent’s wall held firm.

“Brent, let me help you!” I screamed, pushing against the barrier. “No.” Brent’s face twisted in concentration. I fell onto my side and the beads of my necklace dug into my collarbone. It had failed me for the first time ever, but maybe it could still help Brent. I reached to undo the clasp when Sophia began to flicker like a fluorescent bulb about to burn out. Her stream of air sputtered as her shoulders slumped and her arms dropped to her sides. She sagged against the wall breathing heavily. The feral fury in her eyes faded while her flickering image grew lighter and lighter until it disappeared in a puff of colored smoke that swirled away.

Brent bent over, panting for breath. His hands rested on his knees and his hair fell into his overly bright eyes. The hall, which had roared with gale-force winds only seconds before, now settled into a peaceful calm. My labored breathing came out in loud wheezes. I stared at Brent, my hands pressed against the invisible wall he still held. My wrist burned even worse than before, the sudden warmth of the room making the cold seem deeper, but I tried to ignore it.

“She’s gone,” I called out, my voice sounding too loud in the hall.



Awesome! While you're here, sign up to win a very special prize: "marked-up" copies of Shade and Shift! Discover some of the secrets behind the writing of the first two books in the Shade trilogy, including hidden musical references, original plot ideas that got changed, and the substance that inspired "Liquid Stupid."

To qualify for this prize:

1) Complete the YA Scavenger Hunt! See instructions above.

2) E-mail me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com with the Subject Line "YA Scavenger Hunt." In the body of the e-mail, answer this question:

In the Indelible excerpt above, what did Brent use to protect Yara from Sophia?

3) I will check your e-mail against the list of people who completed the Scavenger Hunt, then draw a name randomly from those who both e-mailed me with the correct answer to my question AND completed the Hunt. Winner will be notified this week.

4) Edited to add: Both this giveaway and the grand prize giveaway are OPEN to international entries. Cool, huh?

Now off with ya, to the next stop on the Scavenger Hunt, Kady Cross! Good luck and have fun!

(P.S.: If you're here for the deleted scene from Shift, it's located on Inara Scott's blog, where she's giving away a copy of her own Delacroix Academy: Candidates and an ARC of the sequel, The Watchers. Go show her some love--she deserves it!)



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



"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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