Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Shattered" release! (And putting the "good" in "goodbye.")

Those who were online December 21 (instead of out doing last-minute holiday shopping) might remember that I published the final installment of the Shade series, a novella called “Shattered,” on my website as a free download. This story from Zachary’s point of view was originally promised to readers as a reward for voting him into the finals of the 2011 YA Summer Crushin’ Tournament.

Since "Shattered" was released right before Christmas, I didn’t do much promotion of it when it came out. Everyone was taking a well-deserved vacation from the internet, and besides, I had serious holiday shopping to do! So I planned a big promo week some time in January, when I'd release the illustrated PDF version, the playlist, and deleted scenes. All of those things are finally coming in the next week, but I've spent this month procrastinating the promotion of this novella I'm so proud of.

All month I wondered, why don't I want to talk about “Shattered”? Is it because I don’t want to relive the intense strain of its creation (spending weeks in the head of a PTSD sufferer can make one a wee bit unbalanced)? Am I so eager to move on to new things in a new year that I’m loathe to take one last look back? I couldn’t figure out what my problem was.

Then this morning, Jen at Fictitious Delicious posted her review of “Shattered” and linked to the August 2011 post when I first promised a Zachary story. After reading it, I decided to take a trip down Memory Lane (nice to see a road that’s not covered in ice and snow these days) and reread some of my own Crush Tournament blog posts:
That’s when I realized why I put off talking about “Shattered”: it means saying goodbye. Goodbye to this series that brought me into the wonderful world of YA literature, where I feel more at home than any place I’ve ever been. Goodbye to the characters who made me laugh and cry and ponder big questions of life and death. Goodbye to the readers who astounded me with their enthusiasm, support, and generosity of spirit again and again.

I know it’s not really goodbye, either to the YA world or to readers. I have another YA book, This Side of Salvation, coming out in (YIKES!) two months. I think it’s the best novel I’ve ever written. I’m sure it’ll have plenty of fans, in both my current readers and new ones. I've got lots more stories and novels in the works, so it's not like I'm disappearing.

But Team Kilt was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. The community we shared went way beyond the Shade books and characters. We did a Secret Santa exchange two years in a row. We had countless Mad Libs parties and SHADEboys chats on Twitter. We even had a movie night, where we watched (and mocked, a little) a Hallmark holiday film featuring Sean Faris, the actor/model widely accepted as the perfect Zachary (though a certain Team Kilter is still holding out for Matthew Lewis).

I know that the friendships I made—that we all made—will live on long after the Shade series. I see it every day on Twitter and Facebook: Team Kilt members chatting among themselves, not just about books, but about their lives. Commiserating over bad days at work, or lending a shoulder to cry on during tough times with their families or health.

To me, this is the greatest reward an author can have: not money or fame or accolades, but a community of readers who care about one another. My books set into motion something that made people’s lives better. I made “tiny changes to Earth,” as the song goes, in ways I could never have imagined.

Lots of authors have asked me, “Team Kilt—how did you do it? How did you create such a passionate fan base?” I always say, “I didn’t. They created themselves.”

Then I go on to explain that Team Kilt is so much more than a fan base. They may have originally come together because of my books, but the magic is all theirs. It’s in each and every one of them, and it stretches around the globe, from Minneapolis to Melbourne, from Philadelphia to the Philippines.

So while I’m still sad to say goodbye to the Shade series, I know that Team Kilt lives on. I have no doubt that in five years, ten years, twenty-five years, we’ll still be reuniting at RT Conventions to reminisce about the plaid tsunami that swept the lowest-seeded Zachary into the Crush Tourney finals—and swept Team Kilt into the internal Hall of Fawesome.

And on those nights, not a single tear will be shed.


PS: "Shattered"'s price of $0 does not in any way reflect its quality or its importance to me. I spent a total of about four full-time months writing, rewriting, and editing this novella (which, due to its length, is technically a short novel). Instead of asking for payment, I've included suggested charity links on the download page.

BUT, if you really want to send some monetary appreciation my way, Kilt and Keeley are selling super cute, limited-edition trading cards for a price of your choosing. I appreciate whatever donation you can afford--truly, the total amount doesn't matter as much to me as the number of people who care enough to donate. I would be much happier with a hundred $5 donations than a single donation of $1,000 (please don't tell my husband I said that).


PPS: If you’ve read and enjoyed "Shattered," please share it with others, especially those who might be comforted or inspired by Zachary's struggle and survival. They need your help, and so do I.

And as always, thank you for reading. I mean it.




The community of readership your books built is definitely something to be proud of, Jeri. Thank you for giving us this world of Zach and Logan, and everyone else. You know I'm not a huge paranormal/sci-fi reader and you got ME hooked on their stories. I am very much looking forward to your books ahead :)

Posted by: Blogger Ginger @ GReads! at 1/29/2014 12:28 PM

I'm definitely crying now after reading this...
I think I'll always be a little sad not having joined Team Kilt earlier because I think I could have done more for it and all but I am to be here now, I hope I have brought something to this amazing group of people who to me are more than just fans of this books, they're like family.
Jeri, your books have meant so much to me, I can't really put in into words, they have changed my life and I'll always love them as well as these characters that have brought me so much happiness life, tears as well but mostly happiness hehe.
Our feelings and love for Shade will live on, so I don't want to think of this as a goodbye but more like a see you later... ♥

Posted by: Blogger Gaby Pendragon at 1/29/2014 1:28 PM

Beautifully put Jeri. I still marvel at the amazingness that is Team Kilt. Thank you so much for giving me not only the Shade world, but the Twitter world as well. The characters and people I have met because of you are amazing and I wouldn't give them up for anything in the world. You have done more for me and the rest of Team Kilt than you will ever know, and we all love you for it. And we'll prove it 25 years from now at that reunion (and every year and day in between). I know for a fact that I will keep reading your books (I think you're the only author who can get me to look forward to a contemporary novel), and I will never leave Team Kilt (despite my prolonged absences every now and then). Thank you so much Jeri. For everything.

Posted by: Blogger Poochylover at 1/29/2014 5:04 PM

Ok, *sniffles* I'm crying. We have alot to thank you for. You created a world where we were able to find each other. Thank you is to small but it all we got so I'm going to capitalise it.
THANK YOU JERI FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS or the heart if our bottom. Whichever you prefer. We love you.. ♥♥♥

Posted by: Blogger claire at 1/29/2014 5:16 PM

I didn't read the novella when you first posted it...probably for some of the same reasons.

I love that world and those characters, and I hate to say goodbye to them. Thankfully, there is always rereading :-)

And your next book, which will always automatically go on my "MUST GET" list.

Posted by: Blogger Deborah Blake at 1/29/2014 7:17 PM

I never thought about how Shattered would help our soldiers or other people who suffer through PTSD. I haven't even posted a review though it affected me so much when I read it. I will review it this weekend.

I had never even heard of the YA Crush Tourney until that year when Zachary was up against Jace. I have only just now read TMI and I still think Zach is a much finer choice all around. Still I'm proud to have been part of this group and your fan base and I will forever remember how we all pulled together! Fun times! I'm looking forward to This Side of Salvation and all the other things you write! I'll always be a fan.


Posted by: Blogger BURIED IN BOOKS at 1/29/2014 9:00 PM

Ginger: You guys are the ones who should be proud! I'm so happy you've been part of Team Kilt and we got to know each other because of it.

Gaby: Wow, you are SUCH an integral part of Team Kilt, I always forget that you weren't there at the very beginning. You've more than made up for it over the years. I'm so, so grateful for you. <3

Poochylover: OK, now I'm crying. But in a good way. :) You are amazing, and I'm so happy we've had a chance to meet in real life.

Claire: Ooh, the heart of your bottoms? I love it! And I love you, too.

Deborah: Don't be afraid to read "Shattered", lol! At least not for that reason. Its timeline doesn't go beyond SHINE (it's tucked into the middle of it, like "Bridge" was for SHIFT), so it doesn't really feel like the end of the series as much as SHINE does. I hope you like it!

Heather: Thank you in advance for reviewing "Shattered"! I hope it can help others. Of course, PTSD manifests differently for everyone, but I worked closely with a trauma counselor while I was writing and editing to make sure it realistically portrayed the way Zachary might experience it.

I'll admit: It was hard to write at times. There were days when I had to stop work early because my own body was starting to exhibit symptoms of anxiety. I read only happy books during that time, and I still avoid very dark movies and books as I recover from it. But it was worth it! :)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 1/30/2014 9:02 AM


While I wasn't an "original" member of Team Kilt, I will always be grateful for the YA Crush Tournament and Zach's battle against Tod for introducing me to your books. Reading the Shade books, meeting you and being a member of Team Kilt changed my life in so many positive ways, not least of which is the amazing group of people I now consider friends.

Thank you for giving us Zach and Logan and Aura and Dylan and everyone else in the Shade world we all love so much.

I'm looking forward to reading TSOS and all those other stories you have in your head that haven't been written yet. <3 <3

Posted by: Blogger Judy (shellseeker93) at 1/30/2014 7:03 PM

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This Side of Salvation

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

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“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!

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Jeri Smith-Ready

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

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