Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekend of Legend 3 goals/prizes post

As I mentioned last night, the Weekend of Legend is my writing frenzy with a group of author friends, where we all set goals, ask you to help, and reward you with great prizes!

Here's what I have planned for the writing of "Shattered." I will replace the ???'s with actual information at the appropriate times.

Be sure to read the rules at the end of the post before entering! If you have any questions, check out last night's post to see if the answers are there, and if not, ask below in the comments.

The key thing to do? Follow me on Twitter, and/or follow the #WOL3 hashtag. You can also follow Zachary for commentary on what he's I'm writing.

When I reach 2000 words: You win your choice of SHADE or WVMP swag pack, which include things like signed bookmarks stickers, buttons, note cards.

Start Time: 10:45pm Friday
End Time: 10:45am Saturday
Question: Tweet me (@jsmithready) photos of the Black Isle in Scotland. Zachary travels here on a secret mission (which you know about if you've read Shine, but you don't know everything about his trip to Loch Ness). Be sure to use the #WOL3 and #2K hashtags!
Word count: 2,066
Favorite line: She hugs me back hard, exhaling all the way so that not even the air in her lungs comes between us.
Winner: @MakeMeKay

4000 words: Your choice of WVMP or Keeley Brothers T-shirts from CafePress.

NOTE: I added this prize because CP is having a 40% off sale on tees today, so I need to get your address, shirt size, color choice, and design choice before 2am Eastern time Sunday. Therefore I will draw a winner at 6pm Saturday rather than allowing the usual twelve hours. If the winner does not respond by 2am Eastern time, they will receive a medium regular fit black Keeley Brothers T-shirt.

Start Time: 2pm EDT Saturday
End Time: 6pm EDT Saturday
Question: Zachary is plagued by insomnia ("Shattered" means exhausted in Brit-speak). Tweet me your favorite insomnia cure!
Word count: 4,086
Favorite line from this session: It would be so easy to just let go. Easy, and impossible.
Winner: @emmaleehelen

6000 words: Six Pack of Scottish Firsts, gifted through iTunes. These are the first songs I ever heard by my favorite Scottish bands. I always get a special thrill whenever I hear them again, even if I now know dozens of songs by them.

(If you're new to me and the Shade series, the main character in "Shattered" is Scottish. Hence the connection!)
  • Things” by Frightened Rabbit
  • Conductor” by We Were Promised Jetpacks
  • Where It Snows” by Olympic Swimmers
  • Kill It In the Morning,” The Twilight Sad
  • Recover,” Chvrches
  • “Out of the Blue,” Prides (Note: this song literally just came out yesterday, so it's not available for purchase yet, but once it is, I'll forward it on to you. I can't stop listening to it!)

Start Time: 7pm Eastern time Saturday
End Time: 7am Sunday
Question: Tweet me (@jsmithready) the current song you're obsessed with.
Word count: 6,020
Favorite line from this session: I'm greeted by the smell of grease and fish and grease and potatoes and grease. I can have a full meal just by licking the air.
Winner: @mary_qp

8000 words: Winner's choice of signed/personalized SHADE or WVMP books.

Start Time: 1:30pm Eastern Sunday
End Time: 1:30am Eastern Monday
Question: How did you first hear about the SHADE series?
Word count: 8,019
Favorite line from this writing session: She asks if I'm okay. I say words. She says more words. Eventually I say the only words that matter: "I love you."
Winner: @jcalvert719

Non-wordcount goals:

"Shattered" outline finished: Two-pack of Scot-speak!

1. Everyday Gaelic by Morag Macneill. Note: only an estimated 1.4% of Scots today speak Gaelic, but Zachary and his best mate Martin attended Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu for primary school. This book came highly recommended by an author who teaches many courses on Scottish history. It's been very useful!

2. Collins Scots Dictionary. One of my Twitter followers, @laurafergs, sent me this along with some other brilliant (and occasionally hilarious) books on Things Scottish. This one is my go-to--it's wonderful for making regional distinctions, which can be huge.

Start Time: 4:30pm Eastern Sunday
End Time: 4:30am Eastern Monday
Question: Tell me (@jsmithready) your favorite thing about Scotland. Use #WOL3 and #Outline hashtags.
Word count: N/A
Favorite line from synopsis: He lets himself be happy.
Winner: @Kimberdee

Rough draft of cover blurb: Choice of albums used to inspire the writing of "Shattered":
  • Any Frightened Rabbit (you can pick or I can recommend if they're new to you)
  • Any Twilight Sad (ditto)
  • Any Death Cab for Cutie (ditto)
  • Olympic Swimmers, No Flags Will Fly
  • We Were Promised Jetpacks, These Four Walls

Start Time: 7:45pm eastern Sunday
End Time: 7:45am eastern Monday
Question: Wish my cat @Misha_Guy a Happy 18th Birthday! Don't forget to @ me (@jsmithready) and use the #WOL3 and #blurb hashtags.
Word count: N/A
Favorite line: It's all pretty bad at this point, but my favorite line that I threw away is, "Zachary Moore has become unstuck in time." (I thought the Kurt Vonnegut estate might have a wee problem with that.)
Winner: @tnmedicgirl

10,000 words: A print copy of "Shattered," complete with photos. Note: these will NOT be for sale--the only way to get one is to win it in a giveaway. Since I'm sure these'll be expensive for me to produce, these giveaways will be rare.

I did it! Not all the words were pretty, but I got some serious work done this weekend. Thanks so much to everyone who joined us crazy authors!

Word count: 10,052
Favorite line from final writing session: Zachary: "You'll watch me sleep? That's creepy." Martin: "Aye, cos nothing's more entertaining than seeing ye drool. It's dead sexy."
Winner: @WendyLRoberts


When I reach each milestone, I will ask a question on Twitter, adding the hashtags #WOL3 and #2K, #4K, and so on, depending on the milestone.

To enter the drawing, you MUST include:

  • #WOL3 hashtag
  • specific giveaway hashtag (#1K, #2K, etc.)
  • my twitter handle @jsmithready

There'll be many contests going on all weekend on the #WOL3 hashtag, so this'll help me keep track. I will let each contest go for twelve hours to give people in various time zones more chance to participate, and I will announce when each giveaway is closed. Winners will be drawn using

ALL ENTRIES will put you in the running for the grand prize, but I will count only one entry per person per giveaway. So you'll have a maximum of six entries.

International peeps, listen up! iTunes won't let me give you stuff, so you'll be ineligible for those prizes, but as I just mentioned, ALL ENTRIES will put you in the running for the grand prize, so don't hesitate to join the fun.

***Also, for international winners of books, I will send your book via Book Depository and mail you a separate signed bookplate, rather than a signed book directly from me.* Lately the Postal Service's customs process has become a major pain in the patootie.

OK, time for me to go get ready to WRITE WRITE WRITE so you can WIN WIN WIN!!

*Unless I forget, like I did last time, and just go ahead and send the books. That could happen.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekend of Legend 3 begins tomorrow!

Ladies and gents, children of all ages (well, not those under 14, except under supervision of a parent or guardian or someone else who can explain the more mature portions of my work)...'s time for...

Weekend Of Legend 3!

Weekend of Legend is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane and her best bud/critique partner /occasional co-author Megan Hart. Back in August they held a weekend-long writing frenzy, during which they gave away prizes, involved readers in the creative process, and of course got tons of work done. She did it again in December, when I participated by working on the David book (the title and cover of which are coming very soon, I think!)

Here are the amazing authors involved this time around:
Now that my publisher deadlines are behind me for a while, I'm finally back to working on Zachary's novella, "Shattered." Here's the cover if you haven't seen it yet:

My goals for the weekend will be:

1. ten thousand new words added to "Shattered"
2. an approximate scene-by-scene outline
3. a rough draft of the cover copy (cover copy = those paragraphs about the book that make you want to read it now Now NOW!)

Below are the rules, copied from Lauren's blog and modified for my own purposes.


1. This is a TWITTER contest so yes, you will need a twitter account to play. To be entered in the contests we’ll be running all weekend you will need to @ reply one of us and be sure to use the #WOL3 tag so we can find the responses among all the others to separate out to choose a winner.

My twitter
Lauren Dane
Carly Phillips
Tessa Dare
Chloe Neill

2. I will be checking in every 2,000 words written and awarding prizes at various intervals.

  • For fun, I will also spontaneously tweet songs from "Shattered" using
  • For more fun, Zachary will be tweeting commentary and perhaps sharing a wee excerpt or two from time to time.
  • Some of my prizes will be music from the book. Others will include signed books, swag, gift cards, etc. 
  • The contests run for 12 hours each to give people in all time zones a chance to enter.

And how exactly does one enter, you may ask?


I might ask you to tweet me pics of clothing my characters can wear, or photos of a location Zachary is traveling to, or songs for different moods, or the best fake band name you can think of.

If When I make all my goals, there'll be a grand prize!

Prize details will be found on this blog shortly before 3pm Eastern Daylight Time Friday, so check back then.

3. All of us will be running random contests as well, so keep an eye on the #WOL2 hashtag!

You can see the individual rules for each other at these blog entries: Lorelie BrownCarly PhillipsCarrie LoftyLauren Dane.

4. The #WOL3 contest will run from Noon pacific, Friday April 19 through the end of Sunday, April 21 (so, say, midnight pacific).

5. My contests will be open to international entries unless otherwise indicated (iTunes has geographical limits, for instance).

Any questions? Put them in the comments and I'll make sure I clarify before WOL3 kicks off at 3pm EDT on Friday.

See you this weekend!

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

De-Kilting scene at last!

During Zachary’s second round of the YA Crush Tournament, I wrote a fun little scene on the fly depicting his and Aura’s adventurous Senior Prom night. (Kidnappings! Fight scenes! What’s under the kilt!) For every 100 votes he received, I added 100 words—ultimately a lot more—and I promised that if he won, the kilt was coming off.

He didn’t win, but I decided to write the hotel-room epilogue, anyway, because you guys were so supportive. However, my first three or four tries came out either cheesy or sleazy. I couldn’t figure out any point to the scene other than getting him undressed (which…ugh, no, not for a YA character). It didn’t answer any questions or solve any problems.


I realized that Aura had never gotten over Junior Prom night (depicted in Shift), when Zach hooked up with the villainous Queen Becca. She’s always wondered what exactly happened with the two of them. Finding out for sure will let her have the trust in Zachary she needs to move forward.

NOTE: This scene (as well as the Prom night scene I linked to above) contains major spoilers for Shine.


“Stay here.” Zachary gives me a quick kiss and squeezes my hand before turning to walk toward the hotel’s front desk.

I follow, of course. “What’s going on?”

“I have to see about the room. Stay here.”

“Is something wrong?”

He stops with a sigh and turns to me. “It’s a surprise. Go staun o’er ‘ere, widje?”

I assume he’s telling me to stand over there, “there” being the marble column he’s pointing at with a commanding glower.

I tighten my white silk wrap around my shoulders. “Why didn’t you just say it was a surprise?”

“Cos telling you it’s a surprise is halfway to making it not a surprise.”

He has a point. I go wait by the column near the elevators. It has a small gilded mirror, giving me one last check of my hair and makeup.

I wish I hadn’t peeked. I did some emergency touchup at school at the end of prom, but it takes more than powder and lip gloss to overcome a kidnapping at gunpoint and three hours in a police station. Everyone thought our spending the night alone together was a risk, until we agreed to have our hotel room thoroughly scoured by both American and British security agents.

They’d better be gone when we get up there.

Zach approaches, tucking one of two blue key cards into his sporran, the white goat’s-hair bag hanging from his waist that completes his tuxedo kilt ensemble. Behind him, a pair of twenty-something women are staring at his legs with admiration. Either that or they’re undercover security personnel.

“Ready?” he says with a tense smile.

It’s a loaded question, but I nod and take the arm he offers.

In the elevator, Zachary stands a few inches from the buttons, blocking them as he inserts the other keycard, then punches the floor.

“Where are we—”

“Close your eyes,” he says.

For once, I don’t argue and just obey. He steps close to me as the elevator rises, brings his lips almost to mine. “There was something I wanted to do in Ireland,” he whispers, “but was too nervous to try.”

I smile, eyes still closed, ready for any kind of adventure he’s planned.

Suddenly my feet are swept out from under me. I yelp as Zachary lifts me into his arms. The elevator dings.

I laugh. “This is what you wanted to do in Ireland?”

“It’s tradition, aye? We were supposedly on our honeymoon. So I should’ve carried you over the threshold.”

The doors open, and he steps out into a hallway much lusher than the one we were in last night. The mirrors have gilded frames, and a small, elegant fountain sits between a pair of tall white lilies in crystal vases.

“I upgraded a wee bit.” He carries me down the hall, swooping around the corner with dramatic flair. The motion makes my head spin in a good way. Laughing, I join my hands behind his neck to hold on tight.

Zachary stops before a polished wooden door with a gold plaque that says, “Harbor Suite.” He has the key already in his left hand, the one near my knees.

“One moment…” He moves closer to the door so he can insert the key, squishing me a little.

“You want to put me down?”

“No, I can dae this. But it’s an awkward angle—” He lets out a harsh curse. “I dropped the key.”

“Then put me down.”

“It’ll ruin everything. I’ve another key, can you fetch it from my sporran?”

“Maybe.” I reach beneath my butt, feeling for the pouch. “Boost me?”

He hoists my body up a few inches. “Better?”

“Got it.” Or at least, I’ve found the bag. Getting my hand in is another—


“Sorry, didn’t mean to poke you.”

“This is me losing enthusiasm for yer long fingernails and sadistic nature.”

“This is you refusing to put me down and pick up the damn key.” Finally I undo the clasp, reach inside, and find the smooth plastic key. I unlock the door and turn the handle.


The suite is done up all in a rich, dark hardwood, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. As we pass the bathroom, I spot gleaming marble tile and gilded fixtures.

Zachary carries me straight to the bedroom—which has a balcony—then carefully lays me down, my head resting on the lush, spread-covered pillow. Then he steps back and sweeps his gaze down my body. His lips move without uttering a word.

I reach for him, but he shakes his head. “Berra get the key I dropped outside.”

Oh right.

After picking up the key, he double-bolts the hotel room door. Then he does a quick patrol of the suite, checking the closets and the bathroom and of course the living room. He returns to the bedroom and draws the curtains to block the windows. I prop myself up on my elbows and watch his precise, vigilant motions, remembering how he wielded that baton in the van, striking my would-be strangler’s wrist again and again, rage filling his eyes.

All while wearing the kilt. I can see now why it was once considered a warrior’s uniform (though probably not with tuxedo jacket, bow tie, and gillie shoes). And there’s no doubt he looks amazing in it, and so at home.

But it still calls up some of my worst memories.

He comes to the foot of the bed and leans forward on his hands, as if he’s ready to crawl up to join me. “Can I get you anything? A drink or—”

“Just the truth.”

Zachary straightens, and though his feet don’t move, the sudden motion makes it look as if he’s backing away. “Truth about what?”

I can’t look at his eyes now, they’re so full of trepidation. I turn my face to the bed beside me. “It’s the same tuxedo and kilt you wore last year.”

“Sorry? Did you expect—this outfit costs several hundred pounds. I couldn’t ask for a new one, since I’ve no job, what with taking care of Dad and—”

“I didn’t expect you to get a new outfit.”

“Then what truth do ye want from me?”

It feels childish and petty, but I have to know. “How much of that—” I wave my hand at his outfit. “—did she take off of you?”

Zachary’s face goes slack with relief, and he almost laughs. He sinks hard onto the bed, as if his legs have gone weak. “You want to know exactly how naked Becca got me after last year’s prom?”

It sounds even sillier when he says it back. “Kinda.”

“Aura, you believed me when I said I was a virgin before you, aye?”

“I know you didn’t do it with her, but I’ve always wondered what did happen.”

“With Becca.”

“Yes, with—with her.”

He gives an exasperated sigh. “She’s not Bloody Mary. We can say her name three times without her appearing and dragging us down to hell.”

“Are you going to answer my question or not?”

“I will, but why do you need to know? I never asked what you did with Dylan.”

“I’ll tell you if you want.”

“I don’t want!” He touches my foot, thumb brushing the strap of my black heels. “I’m quite happy pretending all you did was kiss, that his hands never wandered over your body, or yours over his. Just let me believe that, so we can move on.”

“Okay.” For some reason, I can’t let it go. “But last year when we were by the river, talking about prom night, you said that when you realized I was listening, you told her to get dressed.” 

He half turns away and rubs his face. “Ach, when I came out of the loo, she was already wearing some sort of lingerie. I didn’t take her dress off. She did.”

“Oh.” All this time I’d imagined them stripping off each other’s formal wear.

Zachary stands, tugging my hand. “Come here.”

“What are we doing?”

“Me, nothing. You, undress me.” Zachary lifts his arms a few inches, then lets them drop. “When I tell you tae stop, then that’s how naked I was with her.”

My face burns even hotter than before. This Show and Tell is becoming more Show than Tell. But I asked for it.

Holding my breath, I bend over to untie his shoes.

“No,” he says. “Not that.”

Huh. I stand and reach for his tie, which has been hanging loose around his neck since we left the high school.

“Not that, either.”

As I push his tuxedo jacket back over his shoulders, he maintains a look of stony patience, but underneath I can tell it hurts to remember. I am such an idiot for bringing this up. Why couldn’t I just leave the past buried six feet deep where it belongs? Why did I have to torture us?

The jacket slides off. I carefully fold it in half and lay it on the foot of the bed behind me. I know why I’m doing this: even though he’s getting better, there are some nights on our video chats when he still seems so far away. His days in 3A will always haunt him.

Turning back to Zachary, I say, “Look, we don’t need to—”

“Stop.” He’s holding up a hand, palm out.

“But I—”

“I don’t mean stop talking. I mean stop undressing me.”


The disbelief in Aura’s eyes cuts me in two. “That’s it? That’s as far as she got?”


She drops her gaze. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Just know this.” I brush a thick lock of dark hair from her eyes so I can look into them. “You’re the only lass who’s ever seen me naked.”

Her face melts into a smile. “Really?” she asks, and I can almost hear her heart pound in her breath.


Aura steps close and unbuttons my black waistcoat. “Has any lass seen you without this?”

My own pulse spikes at the brush of her fingertips and the scent of her hair. “Well, there’s the seamstress at the kilt shop, but she’s eighty years old. Nice lady, though.”

She doesn’t bother folding the vest, just drops it on the floor. My tie follows. Then she tugs the white dress shirt out of my kilt and starts unbuttoning from the top. “How many lasses have seen you without this?”

 “Just those at the pool at the gym.” When she’s done, I angle my arms so she can slip off the shirt. The air-conditioning meets my skin, making it tingle.

She hesitates, then lays her hand on the belt holding up my kilt. “Have any lasses seen you without this?”

I open my mouth to reply, “Just my mum,” then think better of it and shake my head.

Aura smiles again. I love giving her this beautiful truth, this small offering of painless honesty. This truth doesn’t hurt. It makes her happy, and me happy in return.

But other truths must stay buried.

For how long? I ask myself as I pull her close and kiss her hard, tasting her mouth and pressing my bare chest against her palms.

Forever, I answer myself. She’ll never be burdened with the things I did to stay sane…

Aura kneels before me, then slowly tugs the lace of my left gillie shoe until the knot releases.

…to stay strong…

She unwraps the laces from my calf, one loop at a time.

…to stay whole…

Then the other shoe comes off, and the stockings, as she steadies my balance with her shoulder.

…to stay alive.

I’m not sorry. Without the choices I made those months in Glasgow, I’d have given in. I would have told everyone what the DMP had done to me, and then the agency would have taken its revenge on Aura (or so it threatened).

Maybe I would have given up on life altogether. There were mornings and middles-of-the-nights when thoughts of Aura couldn’t keep me alive. She seemed so far away. She was so far away. Other…things were closer.

But not now. Now there’s nothing closer, nothing righter, than Aura.

And there’s nothing left but the kilt.


Zachary’s hiding something. Maybe he’s still freaked by our kidnapping tonight, or even just by returning to America. If I’d been detained and tortured for eight weeks by some country’s government, I’d stay on the opposite side of the planet forever.

Zach always has to be brave and stoic—even if it kills him, which I think it almost did once. Someday, though, I’ll bring his ghosts into the light, and they’ll stop clouding and crowding the space behind his pure green eyes.

But not now. Now I want him to forget, to lose himself in me.

I unwrap the kilt and let it fall.

The first time I saw him naked, standing on the riverbank almost a year ago, I told myself that Zachary was perfect. But he wasn’t. He isn’t. He never will be.

For that, I love him more than ever.


I hope you enjoyed this bonus scene! If you’re intrigued by Zachary’s secrets, be sure to check out his upcoming novella, “Shattered,” which takes place at the same time as Shine but from his perspective. Few scenes from Shine will be repeated, so it’ll be almost entirely events that Aura was either unaware of or chose not to share with readers.

Here’s the cover. What do you think?

Thanks again for your patience—SHADE readers rock!

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This Side of Salvation

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

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

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


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or



"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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