Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two LUST FOR LIFE guest blogs/giveaways for the price of one!

Okay, technically they're both free, except for the time it takes you to read them, and it will take you twice as long to read two posts as it takes you to read one and twice as long to enter two giveaways as it takes you to enter one.

So really it's just two guest blogs/giveaways for the price of one of THESE blog posts. Which is convenient, since I have a Girlfriends Cyber Circuit interview to post this week as well (Eileen Cook's The Almost Truth, which looks awesome!).

The prize at both of these blogs is your choice of WVMP RADIO novels, signed and personalized by me! The posts are to celebrate this week's release of Lust for Life, but if you're new to the series, these  giveaways will give you a chance to start at the beginning (which, I hear, is a very fine place to start).

1. Amber at Awesomesauce Book Blog interviewed both Shane and Regina for their regular Creature Feature. This was Regina's first interview ever. Big shocker: they didn't agree on everything (though they did agree on which musician they would vamp--check the comments to find out).

Sidenote: I love how the Creature Feature logo over there sort of looks like Regina in a bad mood. Which is to say, it looks like Regina.

To Enter: Read the interview and ask Regina and/or Shane a question in the comments. International entries welcome, but per the blogger's rules, this contest is open only to readers 18 and older. Deadline: December 5.

2. Shane, all by his lonesome, wrote a 90s-music post over at Two Chicks on Books. He discusses a song that came out right after he was vamped in 1995, a song he loves but realizes was awfully, awfully bad for him.

To enter: read the post and answer one or both of Shane's questions about your favorite songs (one question is worth extra entries for making you think and stuff). International entries welcome. Deadline: December 6.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LUST FOR LIFE is here at last!

It's release day for LUST FOR LIFE, the fourth and final novel in the WVMP RADIO series! Which means I have some thoughts and a giveaway to share with you. But let's get some Very Important Business out of the way.

First, an event announcement! Ciara and Shane will hold a Twitter chat this Saturday, December 1, 8-9pm Eastern. I will give away WVMP swag packs to 5 randomly drawn folks who ask them questions during this time (international entries welcome).

Just follow the #WVMPchat hashtag on your favorite Twitter app, or on, which will magically add the hashtag to your post, thus ensuring everyone in the chat sees your tweet.

Second, if you haven't read LUST FOR LIFE's Chapter One or the many teasers on my Facebook page, just follow those links.

Third, please buy this book! Thank you! Here are links for your purchasing pleasure:
  • Constellation Books (signed, and if you order this week, you can still get it personalized, because we sold out of LFL's at last Sunday's signing, so I still need to sign books for the bookstore workers, which means Lauretta will be bringing me another stack anyway. Does that make sense?)
  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
By the way, Amazon has the trade paperbacks for the first two books in the series, WICKED GAME and BAD TO THE BONE, on sale for 60% off ($6, normally $15). These are "remaindered" books now that the trade paperbacks are out of print. Which means it could be your only chance to get them ever again! I bought some for myself, because of my natural hoarding instinct.

Purchase links for all four novels can be found on the WVMP Buy Us! page.

By the way, ten percent of all author royalties will be donated to VH1's Save the Music Foundation. So yay.

Fourth, don't forget to check out "Let it Bleed," Book 3.5 in the series. It bridges the gap between BRING ON THE NIGHT and LUST FOR LIFE. Its events are recapped in LUST FOR LIFE, so you won't be totally lost if you skip it. But they are very dramatic events which you're better off experiencing directly. Consider yourself duly notified.

Now that that's out of the way, it's time for a release day post!

I was planning to write about what it's like to end a long-running series, or do a nostalgic post about the series as a whole. But that would be giving short shrift to LUST FOR LIFE--it deserves its very own post, don't you think?

Not surprisingly, it was a song that gave me the idea for the events of this book and how the series would come to a close. Revealing the song title would spoil everything, but after you've read the book, check out the unnamed tune on the radio at the end of Chapter 30 (if you can't figure out the title, check the playlist at the front of the book).

DON'T LOOK UNTIL YOU'VE READ UP TO THAT POINT! Seriously, you will regret it.

Anyway, the moment I knew how it would all end, I decided I would do anything to make it happen. When my publisher turned down the proposal for LUST FOR LIFE due to less-than-stellar sales of the first three books, I was in the middle of revising LET IT BLEED, which was originally going to be Book 4 (with LUST FOR LIFE as Book 5). The thought of ending the series on the bittersweet notes of LIB made me go, "Uh-uh. No way." Except with more cussing and crying.

I asked my publisher if I could take the proposed plot for LUST FOR LIFE and make that Book 4, then self-publish what was originally Book 4 as Book 3.5, a novella. To this unique, innovative, but almost definitely crazy idea, they said, "Sure!"

It meant basically writing a whole extra novel for free, but I think it was worth it, to give the readers and especially the characters their ultimate happy ending. I hope you agree it was worth the wait!

So, today I started thinking about the things that vampires long for, what they miss from their previous human existence. Here's an exchange from LUST FOR LIFE (ellipses indicate intentional gaps left to avoid BRING ON THE NIGHT spoilers):

"What food do you miss most?" [I ask Shane]....
"When I was a kid, Mom made pancakes every Sunday after Mass. Originally she made them before Mass, but then we kept falling asleep in church. She learned to use pancakes as a bribe to get us to behave."
"Brilliant tactic."
"Then I got diabetes, so I couldn't always have them. She would make me eggs instead. And I could never have syrup."
"That sucks."
He nods. "So definitely pancakes."
"With syrup."
"With syrup."
The doorbell rings. Shane goes still for an instant, then looks at me, his eyes tinged with sadness and anxiety. Then he smiles and says, "Speaking of breakfast..."

Vampires lust over many aspects of life: food, sunlight, the freedom to travel without fear. Though they can technically survive on bank blood, most prefer to drink directly from a living, pulsing vein. The need for blood gives them a convenient excuse to get close to humans, to live vicariously through them. If they were truly isolated from humanity, they would rapidly fade.

What about you? If you were a vampire in the WVMP universe, what would you miss most? Answer in the comments below to enter to win a signed, personalized copy of your choice of Bring on the Night or Lust for Life. I'll draw two winners a week from today, Tuesday, December 4, 7:30pm Eastern time. 

My answer? Well, I'm not a huge fan of sunlight, and as much as I love to travel, I'm secretly quite the homebody, so for me it would probably be food. Mac and cheese, donuts, even something as simple as a ripe pear.

(HAHAHA, who am I kidding? Fresh fruit would not make the list.)

Tomorrow's post will be hosted by Awesomesauce Book Blog, who interviewed Shane and Regina for their Creature Feature.

Then on Thursday, Shane will talk 90s music over at Two Chicks on Books. Friday I'll be back here revealing and discussing the LUST FOR LIFE playlist. Then Saturday at 8pm ET comes Ciara and Shane's Twitter chat.

Thanks for joining me for release week, everyone! Now go read the book and report back. Go on, I'll wait...

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Words & Music Monday WVMP blog and giveaway!

Welcome to LUST FOR LIFE's release week! The first stop is at Books Make Me Happy book blog, where I take part in their regular feature, Words and Music Monday.

Today I'm discussing the titles of the books, which are all named after songs. How did I choose them? How do they reflect the journey of the main character, recovering con artist Ciara Griffin? How sexy is the video for Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"? (Answer: ALL the sexy.)

I'm also giving away a signed copy of any WVMP novel (winner's choice) to one commenter. International entries welcome! Deadline: December 2.

Check back tomorrow for my own blog post, a look back at five years, four novels, one novella, and five short stories. Nostalgia time! *wipes bittersweet tear*

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lust for Life Excerpt-apalooza!

AT LAST, the first chapter of Lust for Life is available here on the website (complete with spoiler warning about reading the other books first, including "Let It Bleed," the free-download novella).

ALSO, I'm posting at least one Lust for Life snippet a day on my Facebook page now through release week.

Which is next week--YAY! Now go read. I won't keep you.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WVMP visits WTMD

On October 30, I left our Sandy-sodden basement and drove down to Towson University for my very first radio interview, at Baltimore's best (possibly only) source of truly cool music, 89.7 WTMD.

Check out this panorama-tastic shot of Sam Gallant interviewing me (photo courtesy of my husband's iPhone, which got us lost on the way to the campus):

Click for larger, more awe-inspiring version.

You can hear not only the interview, but also two short readings from Wicked Game. The first reading is a good introduction to the story and characters, and the other reading is...disturbing. (If you've read the book, it's the part in Gideon's Lair where one of the vampires doesn't so much make it out "alive.")

Since I hate listening to recordings of myself (especially interviews), can you do me a favor and let me know if they're any good? Thanks!

REMINDER: tomorrow is the final day to preorder a signed, personalized copy of the final, ultimate  WVMP novel, Lust for Life, from my local indie bookseller, Constellation Books. See this preorder blog post for simple, happy instructions.

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ballot measures: a skit

(Originally posted on Facebook as an impromptu status update, which is why it's so short.)

So yesterday the states were sitting around comparing ballot measures, like kids comparing presents the day after Xmas:

Washington: What'd you guys get?

Maryland: I got marriage equality!

WA: Awesome, me, too! We also legalized marijuana!

MD: Whoa. Um...we now have table games at casinos.

WA: Oh. Well...that's...pretty cool, too. *hides snicker*

MD: Yeah, I guess. Hey, wanna trade? Pot for poker?

WA: Haha, no way! Ask Colorado.

CO: We already have table games. But man, we would kill for your Dream Act, Maryland.

MD: *contemplates* Nah, we wanna keep that. *sifts through gifts* I got some sweet orphan-court measures! Want those?

CO, WA: *blank looks*

MD: Redistricting?

CO, WA: *blank looks*

MD: Firing elected officials convicted of felonies?? Come on, guys!

WA: That's okay. Come on, Colorado. *opens box of Pop-Tarts*

(Stocking image from eBay)

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Why readers should vote

You're probably sick of the election. You're probably sick of hearing people argue and call each other names. And admit it: you're probably sick of my tweets and status updates about voting and about my support for Question 6 (for same-sex marriage in Maryland).

All you want to do is ignore the shouting from the TV and radio and internet, curl up with a good book, and wait for it to be over.

I understand the need for escape, and how beautifully books can provide it, for both readers and writers. I don't know how I would have survived the last few months had I not had Zachary and David to pour my sorrow into. When the real world is a "vale of tears," books can comfort and distract. When real life is absurd and insane, books provide order and logic. (As Tom Clancy once said, "The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.")

But tomorrow is Election Day. Time to get real.

America faces stark choices, not just in the presidential election, but in Congressional races and ballot questions. Real people's lives will get better or worse based on the outcomes. And unlike fictional characters, real people have no author to untangle their problems and give them a happily ever after.

The cool thing about readers? Neuroscience tells us that you are more empathetic and socially intelligent than non-readers. Putting yourself in the place of a character who is unlike you (and since we are all individuals, every character is unlike you) gives you the ability to understand different points of view and feel the pain and joy of others more than non-readers do.

This is why I think readers rock. Not because you allow me to make a living doing what I love or because you fill my inbox/tweet stream/Facebook wall with compliments (though I am incredibly grateful for both). Readers rock because you get the world.

The question is, what are you going to do with this understanding? Will you lend it only to those who exist between pages? Or will you extend it to those who walk and talk in our world, who cry real tears, breathe real air, and bleed real blood?

I'm asking you, for one day: put down that book and pick up a ballot. Thanks.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Give a little (to Sandy relief), get a little (books and swag)!

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Doug Mills/Pool,
The aerial view of the damage around Atlantic City, New Jersey is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (Plucked by me from

By now you know how much damage Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy has wrought in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast part of our country. Millions of people are still without power, which means no access to clean water, heat, or food. Recovery will take weeks or even months. Some have lost everything.

You may have already bid on one of several ongoing author auctions raising funds for this worthy cause. While I love auctions, and have participated in several in the past, I like to give people an opportunity to get something in return for small donations. Because it all adds up.

So I'm repeating the format of my "You Pick Holiday Giveaway" fundraiser, as well as the one I did for Japan last year, where I gave away books, swag, and ARCs to those who made a donation to their favorite charity.

Please read the specific rules below and in the entry form, but the basic gist is, you donate to the Sandy relief organization of your choice, give me proof of your donation, then pick a prize from the list. You give, you get--it's that simple!

NOTE: Due to the huge number of prizes, I will have to limit this to US addresses only. Sorry!

Items in red indicate collector's items, i.e., unavailable for purchase, either because they were never for sale (like ARCs or cover flats) or because they're now out of print.

PRIZE CATEGORIES (quantity available noted in parentheses, updated Sunday, November 11, 12:45pm--so far, you've donated $440!):

For a $5 donation, you can get one of the following:

Signed cover flats:

Signed Buttons:

  • WVMP Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll (10 9)
  • Keeley Brothers (10)

For $10 donation:

Signed WVMP books:

  • Wicked Game (WVMP #1) mass market paperback (5 3)
  • Bad to the Bone (WVMP #2) mass market paperback (3 1)
  • Bring on the Night (WVMP #3) mass market paperback (10  7)
  • **BRAND-NEW, YET-TO-BE-RELEASED** Lust for Life (WVMP #4) mass market paperback (5)

Signed SHADE books:

  • Shade paperback, new cover (5 4)
  • Shift paperback (5 3)
  • Shine paperback (5 4)

Signed foreign editions (click to see covers):

For $15 donation:

Signed books:

  • Bad to the Bone (WVMP #2) trade paperback (3  2)
  • Voice of Crow (Aspect of Crow #2) trade paperback (10 8)
  • The Reawakened (Aspect of Crow #3) trade paperback (10 9)
  • Shade trade paperback with original cover art, pictured, now out of print (3) 

For $20 donation:

Signed ARCs:

  • Voice of Crow (2)
  • The Reawakened (2)
  • Bad to the Bone (1, minor wear on spine)

Signed audiobook:


1. Donate online to your chosen relief organization helping those affected by Sandy. Of course the big one in any disaster is the American Red Cross, but the Humane Society and AmeriCares are also doing much-needed work.

You can combine prizes, of course. For example, if you donate $20, you can request two $5 prizes and a $10 prize.

2. Fill out the entry form below, including proof of donation.

3. I will reply within 24 hours to let you know which prize(s) you got. I will also update this blog post at least once a day to show the quantity of each prize still available.

4. Deadline: 11:59 eastern, Friday, November 9. I will try to mail as many of the prizes before I leave for a week's writing retreat on November 12.

Thanks so much for giving!

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Baltimore Science Fiction Society panel on Fantastic Heroines

Last Saturday night, before all heck broke loose on the East Coast, I went to downtown Baltimore to visit the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, where Colleen Cahill from the Library of Congress moderated a panel on Heroines in Science Fiction and Fantasy. 

I always learn a lot about writing and literature when I participate on panels (that is secretly the biggest reason why I do them, hee), and this was no exception. Fellow authors Brenda CloughMorgan Keyes, and L. Jagi Lamplighter had fascinating perspectives on writing about girls and women for different genres, and on gender expectations in the larger world.

If you couldn't make it, now you can watch the whole thing on YouTube! If you click that link, it'll start the first of several short videos. Each leads to the next automatically, like MAGIC.

From left to right are Colleen, Jagi, Brenda, me, and Morgan. And a dragon.

By the way, the bookshelves in the background? They go all the way to a very high ceiling and wrap all the way around a very large room. The BSFS has a huuuuuuuuuge library of science fiction and fantasy, and it's all available to the public to borrow. If you're a local, definitely consider stopping by.

Thanks to Alexander Harris for the photo and videos, to Constellation Books for selling our novels, and to everyone in the BSFS for having us over to chat!



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**


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"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!).

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Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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