Monday, March 31, 2014

This Side of Salvation release week!

This Side of SalvationI'm thrilled to announce the official release (at last!) of my YA contemporary debut:


Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure:  The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined… 

What Others Are Saying:

“THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s a mystery, a love story, a tale of friendship, of prejudice, and of a family overcoming tragedy…Jeri Smith-Ready has her finger on the pulse of American youth.” — Printz Honor winner and NYT Bestseller Elizabeth Wein

“This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.” — VOYA, **Highlighted (Starred) Review**

“[A] smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self—while never being heavy-handed.” Booklist, **Starred Review**

“This book has some of the best written, strongest, and most satisfying character dynamics that I have read in a long time...There are no extreme moral rights and wrongs in this book. These people just are, and they work, and they make this story beautiful.” — Bibliopunkk

Giveaways Galore!

I've got two ongoing giveaways to celebrate the release of This Side of Salvation.

Join the Rush swag fest: free EXCLUSIVE swag for everyone who orders TSOS on or before Monday, April 7.

Superfan contest (March 31 – April 9): share the TSOS characters’ “trading cards”  on your social networks to earn points. Biggest Superfan wins the grand prize, but there’s a chance to win a book and a gift card every day you play!

Here's the first day's card, featuring the main character, David Cooper:

Cat blogging meets book birthday!

Meet Misha and Twinkle, the real-life inspiration for the cats of This Side of Salvation, on PulseIt, the official site of my publisher, Simon Pulse.

Order the hardcover:

Order the ebook:

Find me

Since the release of my last book, I've joined a few new social networking sites in addition to my trusty favorites, Twitter and Facebook. Follow me here:

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Opening Day of the TSOS Superfan contest!

Each weekday for the next nine days, I'll post a "trading card" here on the blog and on my various social networks. The cards will feature quotes by the different characters, as well as iconic images associated with them. By sharing this image on your blogs and/or social networks, you could win some great prizes!

For all the details, including rules, prize list, and entry form, see Saturday's post (this link will open in a new window so you can easily navigate back and forth between here and there). If you already know what to do, here's a direct link to the entry form.

The first character in the lineup is none other than our protagonist, David Cooper!

Once again, see this post to find out what to do. It's easy and fun!

And I totally mean it when I say, THANK YOU FOR PLAYING!

Note: The first day's contest began at midnight, but starting Tuesday, April 1, the contests will begin at 9 a.m. This gives everyone nine extra hours to play the first day, plus it gives me the chance to go to bed at a decent hour the next two weeks. :)

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

TSOS Superfan Contest rules

Phanatic head
Phillie Phanatic, the world's greatest sports mascot
David Cooper, the main character in This Side of Salvation, is the star pitcher for his high-school team. He dreams of getting a baseball scholarship, as it may be the only way to afford college. The sport connects him to his deceased older brother, John, who used to play catch with him and coach him on his fastball. Most important, the pitcher's mound gives David a place of safety and security when the rest of his life falls to pieces.

Monday, March 31—the day before TSOS releases—is Major League Baseball's Opening Day. It's the day when all teams have hope, when every fan dares to dream of the World Series. So I wanted to do a little baseball-themed game to celebrate the release of This Side of Salvation.

Don't worry: You don't have to know anything about the sport to play! All you need are your trusty social networks—Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, etc.—and a minute or two of time.

TSOS Superfan Game

Each weekday from March 31 through April 10 (nine days), I will post a new baseball-style "trading card" on my blog and on all my social networking sites. Each card will feature a different character from This Side of Salvation.

Why 9 days instead of 10? Because a baseball team has 9 players in its starting lineup*, and a baseball game has 9 innings. So each day of the contest will be like one "inning," adding up to an entire game.

Whoever has the most points at the end of the game will win the grand prize! There will also be 9 daily drawings, randomly chosen, so even those who don't rack up tons of points will have a chance to win something.

How to Play

Each day:

  • Share that day's trading card ONCE on as many social networking sites as you can. (The first card is now up, here on the blog and on all my social networking sites.) (And so is the second!)
  • Fill out the entry form below (or use this link in case it doesn't appear below in your browser) with your email address and direct links to the places you've shared the card.
  • Do it again the next day with a new card!


1. Each shared post must include the trading card image and a live link—i.e., a link people can click on—which leads to my blog, my home page, or the TSOS page on my website.
The easiest way to do that is to simply RT my tweet, reblog my Tumblr post, share my Facebook post, or repin my Pinterest post. Follow me to make sure you see them:

For sharing the trading card on your own blog, I trust you know how to create links.

Exception to this rule: no links required for Instagram, since that's a trick I haven't figured out myself. Simply post the image.

2. NO SPAMMING. Please share each trading card only ONCE on each social network and only on its designated day. This way, your followers will see something fresh and new.

Entrants will only receive points for sharing the card on its designated day. This is to prevent latecomers from spamming their timelines with several cards at once in an effort to "catch up." However, I know time zones can be tricky, so I'll be flexible. For instance, if you post Day 3's card a few hours into Day 4, it will still count, but if you post it on Day 5, it will not.

3. Each "share" will count as 1 point. So if you share the image on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, you'll get 3 points that day. 

Those who play all nine innings (participate every day) will be awarded a 10-POINT BONUS!

4. The grand prize will be awarded on April 11 to the contestant with the most points. In the event of a tie at this time, we will go to "extra innings" (days) until there's a clear winner.

5. Daily drawings will be picked using the number generator Each point gives you one "ticket" in the drawing. Winners will be contacted via email.

6. International entries welcome!

7. Entrants are solely responsible for ensuring their entries follow the above rules. No confirmations or corrections will be sent; the only communication will be to notify winners.


Grand prize: Something you can't buy anywhere: a set of autographed, annotated copies of all four of my YA books: Shade, Shift, Shine, and This Side of Salvation. "Annotated" as in, I include comments in the margins of various pages to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of these books. Kind of like a director's commentary.

As I said, you can't buy these anywhere. I usually only make them for charity auctions, so there are maybe 5 or 6 annotated copies of the Shade series books in the world. And the grand-prize winner will be the FIRST to get an annotated This Side of Salvation.

Second prize: Annotated This Side of Salvation
Third prize: Annotated Shade
Fourth prize: Annotated Shift
Fifth prize: Annotated Shine

Daily random-drawing prizes: $10 gift card to the bookstore of your choice, PLUS a book or ARC from the grab bag provided by my publisher, Simon Pulse.

Questions? Did I miss anything? If so, ask me in the comments to this post.



Q: What if my Twitter posts to Facebook and tumbr and Pinterest and Instagram?

A: Good question! As long as the image itself appears on those other social networks when they get their feed from Twitter, that's all that matters. If only a link or text appears, then it won't count. The key is to get the image out there where people can see it and go "Cool!" or "Hmm..." or "Huh?"

Also, you would still have to copy and paste each separate link (one from Twitter, one from FB, etc.) into the entry form so they can be counted.

Q: I retweeted your tweet. The direct link it is giving me is actually your tweet. It doesn't show my name in the link. Is that correct?

A: Yep, that's fine. I can see under the tweet who retweeted it.


Now get ready to...


*We're pretending the designated hitter rule doesn't exist, BECAUSE IT SHOULD NOT.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Join the Rush" giveaway--order TSOS and get free swag!

EDITED TO ADD 4/7: Apparently there was some sort of malfunction in the delivery of my newsletter (*shakes fist at mailing list provider*), and a significant number of subscribers didn't receive the latest issue. So I'm  extending this giveaway until April 30. (Oh, and if you didn't receive the newsletter, I'll be sending it again once the technical problems get worked out. Or you can read the issue online here!)

This Side of Salvation comes out in just 5 days, and I'd like to give something special to those who either preorder or order during the first week!

If you order on or before April 7,  April 30, 11:59pm eastern time and send your receipt to me by May 1, I will send you the following:
  • Signed, personalized This Side of Salvation bookplate (EXCLUSIVE to the Join the Rush giveaway*)
  • Your very own ticket to the Rush (EXCLUSIVE to the Join the Rush giveaway)
  • A signed TSOS bookmark

Mockup of tickets (front and back):

Final design of tickets will be slightly more sophisticated looking. I'll order them once I know how many I need.

Is this an international giveaway?


Does it cover ebooks too?


How do I send in my receipt? What information do you need from me?

Electronic receipts can simply be forwarded to info AT jerismithready DOT com. Paper receipts can be scanned in or mailed to me (postmarked by April 30) at PO Box 66, Westminster, MD 21158.


YOUR COMPLETE NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS. Entrants without complete mailing addresses will be disqualified. So if you don't send your address, you will NOT get swag. 

HOW YOU WANT THE BOOKPLATE SIGNED (i.e., "To Mary" or "just an autograph, please"). If you don't say how you want it signed, I will just sign my name.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

If I miss the deadline, can I purchase this exclusive swag?

These items feature cover art to which I don't hold the copyright, so I can't sell it. I do give away bookmarks upon request with each issue of my newsletter, but the TSOS bookplate and Rush ticket will not be available after the Join the Rush giveaway.

*Usually I offer any one bookplate to my newsletter subscribers free upon request each issue. I will do that again for this issue, but This Side of Salvation will NOT be one of the bookplate options, as I'm having them specially made up in limited quantity for this giveaway. Which means they'll be much better-looking than my usual bookplates!

Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments.

For ordering online, here are some handy-dandy links:


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

April events, in real life and online

April 2: Teen Author Reading Night
Time: 6-7:30pm
Place: Jefferson Market Library, New York, New York
Along with:
  • Elizabeth Eulberg, Better Off Friends 
  • Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, Elusion 
  • Gwendolyn Heasley, Don’t Call Me Baby / The Art of Goodbye 
  • Melissa Kantor, Maybe One Day 
  • Emmy Laybourne, Sky on Fire 
  • Marie Rutkoski, The Winner’s Curse 
  • Tiffany Schmidt, Bright Before Sunrise 
  • Jennifer E. Smith, The Geography of You and Me 
  • Jeri Smith-Ready, This Side of Salvation 
  • Jess Verdi, The Summer I Wasn’t Me
More Info 

April 3: YA Scavenger Hunt
Time: 3pm ET Thursday, April 3 through 3pm ET Sunday, April 6
Place: YA Scavenger Hunt blog will be the central location, but the hunt will take you to the blogs of 50 different YA authors for the chance to win lots of prizes, including the grand prize of EVERYONE's books!
Along with: Author list TBA very soon (I have the list, but I'm not sure it's public yet. When it is, I'll post it here.)

April 7: Ask Me Anything
Time: All day, but I'll be taking questions between 9am and 5pm ET.
Place: YA writers subreddit

April 18: 3 J's and a K Talk YA (panel, games, giveaways, Q&A, and booksigning)
Time: 7-9pm
Place: Children's Book World, Haverford, PA
Along with:

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More review honors for This Side of Salvation!

This Side of Salvation (which comes out in a week--ack!) just reeled in a couple more stellar magazine reviews.

Voice of Youth Advocates (more commonly known as VOYA) is a trade journal for YA librarians. It has its own book rating system designed to help librarians choose the best books for their needs (see  graphic below to see what 4Q and 5P mean). A "highlighted review"--one that gets a 5Q and/or a 5P--is their equivalent of a starred review.

4Q 5P J S
Smith-Ready, Jeri. This Side of Salvation. Simon Pulse, 2014. 384p. $17.99. 978-1-4424-3948-1.

The morning of the Rush, David and Mara find their parents clothes laid out in bed, as though they had just disappeared from inside them. They were supposed to be home with their parents for this most recent prediction of the rapture, but instead went to a prom after party. They determine three possible reasons for their parents’ disappearance: the Rush actually happened; their parents were kidnapped; or they committed suicide. What happens next is a compelling story as David and Mara deal with the loss of their parents, begin to investigate their disappearance, and set off to find the cult that took them. 
This Side of Salvation is told in a combination of current events and flashbacks to the days, months, and years leading up to the Rush. Readers learn what happened to David and Mara’s parents to make them embrace this extremist religion. Starting with the death of their older brother, grief sent the family spiraling downward until their father was speaking only in bible verses; and they were asked to give up all of their friends and plans for the future in preparation for the Rush. This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.—Kristi Sadowski.

And RT Book Reviews just gave it their highest rating: 4.5 Stars Top Pick!

Laugh, cry, snort, scream into your pillow — this book will inspire all of your emotions as it explores faith, a lack thereof, mourning, depression and first love. Known for her YA paranormal and urban fantasy titles, Smith-Ready’s mainstream YA debut gives readers a story they’ll remember for a long time. The characters can be maddening, but their actions are so real you’ll soon relish every frustrating moment. Via alternating chapters, Smith-Ready presents two easy-to-navigate storylines that meet with a comforting conclusion.

SUMMARY: It’s the night of the Rush — the Rapture, as people used to call it — and David and his sister Mara are late. They were at an after-prom party on the most important night of their parents’ lives: when they are to be saved from the God-induced apocalypse, predicted by infamous preacher Sophia Visser, and relieved of the agony caused by their eldest son John’s death. Nothing feels different, but David’s parents seem to have vanished into thin air. Did the Rush actually happen? David and Mara dig around for clues and discover a lot more than a path back to their parents. (SIMON PULSE, Apr., 384 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9781442439481, HC, 14 & Up) --Tricia Carr
EDITED TO ADD: And they featured the TSOS cover in their Table of Contents!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook is now available!

Year of Mistaken Discoveries CoverFriendship is a bond stronger than secrets in this novel from the author of The Almost Truth and Unraveling Isobel

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared—they were both adopted. 

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact...until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom—but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party. 

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics…  

You can buy the book here: Indie Bound Amazon Barnes and Noble Chapters/Indigo 

What Others Are Saying:

“Cook combines friendship drama, boy troubles, romance, family conflict, and college application stress with a protagonist trying to understand who she really is in the wake of tragedy.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Cook delves into some interesting questions about what is really important in life as well as the challenges associated with self-discovery and determining how far you’ll go to get what you want.” Booklist

“An insightful, entertaining exploration of the impact of a suicide” Kirkus

“Eileen Cook returns with Year of Mistaken Discoveries, a romantic tragi-comedy from the perspective of the most popular–often most hated–girl in high school: the cheerleader… Year of Mistaken Discoveries is provoking, fast-paced entertainment, and Cook successfully tackles some tough issues with a very light touch.” Readerly- The National Reading Campaign.

“Given the choice between contemporary and paranormal YA, I will almost always pick contemporary and Eileen Cook is the perfect example of why.” Nerdy Book Club- Kelly’s Top 15 Books for 2014

"This book is amazing! Everyone should buy at least five copies." Eileen's mom.

Visit Eileen's website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Looking for audiobook narrators!

Welcome, potential narrators! Several of you asked for more details on Twitter and Facebook, so here's where I explain how this whole ACX audiobook dealie works. 

Since I hold the audio rights to all my books except Shade, Shift, and Shine (excellent audiobooks of which are already available through Audible, iTunes, Amazon, etc.), I can hire narrators myself.

ACX is a marketplace site where authors and narrators find one another. Once we've produced the audiobook, it gets distributed by Audible/Amazon/iTunes.

This is the process:
  • I add a book to the site, like I did for This Side of Salvation. I include a short excerpt to be read as an audition piece.
  • A narrator "auditions" by recording themselves narrating the excerpt, then uploading the recording to the site.
  • I listen to the audition, and if I like it, I make an offer.
  • Since I'm pretty strapped for cash right now (okay, always), the narrator and I split the royalties, rather than me paying them upfront.
  • If I make an offer and it's accepted by the narrator by 11:59pm Tuesday, the royalty rate will be 50% (but can escalate up to 90% depending how many books are sold). However, any offers accepted as of March 12 or later will earn a flat royalty rate of 40%, which means the narrator and I each get 20%, no matter how many books are sold.
I've been meaning to do this for years now, but the upcoming royalty rate change kind of lit a fire under me, and I figured "Why not?" It's a chance for me and a narrator to make a little money without spending any, and a chance for readers to finally get audio versions of these books.

Check out ACX's How It Works page for more details.

And if you're interested in auditioning (preferably by Tuesday morning), simply create a narrator profile, then click on one or more of these titles to audition. Good luck!

Wicked Game (Auditions now closed for this title.)
This Side of Salvation (male)
Requiem for the Devil (male)
Eyes of Crow (male or female, preferably female)

Friday, March 07, 2014

March Spotlight Author at Step Into Fiction

The fantastic book bloggers at Step Into Fiction invited me to be their spotlight author for the month of March!

Some of the features:
  • An interview with me
  • Sana's review of This Side of Salvation, which touched my heart
  • Two giveaways: the very last signed, personalized ARC of This Side of Salvation (provided by me), as well as a complete signed, personalized Shade trilogy (provided by Step Into Fiction)

I'm so excited to be taking part in their monthly feature. Please visit and show them some love!

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Learn the RIGHT way to fast draft with Denise Jaden's FAST FICTION (and win some awesome books)!

I'm especially thrilled to introduce Denise Jaden's new book, FAST FICTION, because I'm reading it now!

I've never had much luck with fast-drafting (usually defined as writing a novel in a month or less), but when Denise told me she had written a book on the subject, I decided to give it one more shot and maybe this time, oh, I don't know, get HELP instead of trying to figure it all out on my own?

Two pages into FAST FICTION, I discovered where I went wrong: I DIDN'T PLAN ahead of time. I would leap in and start writing frantically the moment I was struck with an irresistible idea.

It was the equivalent of hopping into a car spur of the moment to drive to "I Don't Know--Somewhere Cool!" Because getting there is half the fun, right?


This is what happened on a typical journey:
  • I would change the destination (plot) on a whim as I went.
  • My travel companions started off as total strangers to me and each other (didn't have a handle on my main characters for the first 25-30K words).
  • I didn't bring enough money for food or gas (tried to fast-draft during a month with lots of prior commitments).
  • I had no map (nothing but the vaguest outline, which was thoroughly untested for logic)!
  • I didn't understand the terrain (no time for research, which left huge gaps in the book and led me down unrealistic plot paths).
  • I became obsessed with distance traveled (wordcount), regardless of whether it was in the right direction. By that point, I knew the book had major problems, so racking up words was the only thing I had to feel good about.
The one time I actually succeeded in writing 50K words in one month (a New Adult novel last August), the result was a disaster. Just this week I brainstormed ways to fix it and realized it would take much less time and energy to start something new. So I abandoned the project.


Which is a shame, because it was a book that meant a lot to me. It might've rocked your socks off. But I killed it with my stubborn devotion to an unrealistic goal. Sorry.

(It wasn't a total loss: the heroine's backstory intrigued me so much, I'm going to turn it into an amazing YA novel someday.)

Here's the part where I go all ALL-CAPS-Y ON Y'ALL.

DON'T DO WHAT I DID. If you want to try NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo, or do your own fast-drafting at a time convenient to you,  I highly recommend picking up Denise Jaden's FAST FICTION at least SIX WEEKS before sitting down to write. She lays out a simple but thorough pre-writing plan that even an easily distracted, impulsive brain like mine can follow. And during the drafting period, she has a tip and inspiration to follow each day.

Because without a plan, you will waste gas, time, and energy. You might even damage your car (manuscript) beyond repair. DO NOT TOTAL YOUR BOOK. It deserves better.

So without further ado, here's Denise to talk about FAST FICTION!

Rather than doing a traditional interview-filled blog tour, Denise Jaden is celebrating the release of her new nonfiction writing book, FAST FICTION, by dropping tips about writing quickly at every stop of her blog tour, and offering some awesome prizes for commenting on any of these posts (including this one!)

The more you drop by and comment, the more chances you have to win these great prizes:

Denise's Fast Fiction Tip: Use Personal Heroes!
Who are your personal heroes? And, more importantly, why are they heroic to you? The heroic qualities which are most important to you will always evoke passion within you. That’s why we tend to love to watch movies or read books with a certain type of characters. Do you gravitate to characters who are selfless or extremely talented? Keep these heroic qualities in mind as you develop your own plots and characters. Finding what makes us passionate about our characters can help carry us through as we motivate ourselves to tell their most important stories.
The Prizes:

  • Compliments of New World Library: They will be giving away A BOX of copies of FAST FICTION by Denise Jaden and GET IT DONE by Sam Bennett (US and Canada only):
  • Compliments of Denise Jaden, TWO BOXES of great fiction (US Only). Details on Denise's blog.
  • Audiobook copies of NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden!
  • A critique of your first five pages, compliments of Denise's agent, Michelle Humphrey from The Martha Kaplan Agency!

All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win (at the bottom of this post, I've included links to all of the other blogs where you can comment for more chances to win).

About Fast Fiction:

Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of her two published young adult novels during NaNoWriMo. In Fast Fiction, she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. Her process starts with a prep period for thinking through plot, theme, characters, and setting. Then Jaden provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. Finally, her revision tips help writers turn merely workable drafts into compelling and publishable novels.

A portion of publisher proceeds will be donated to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Praise for Fast Fiction:

“Fast Fiction is filled with stellar advice, solid-gold tips, and doable, practical exercises for all writers who want to draft a complete novel.”
— Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway

“Being a ‘pantser’ I have always resisted outlining, but I have to say that Fast Fiction changed my mind! Denise Jaden takes what I find to be a scary process (outlining) and makes it into an easy and, dare I say, enjoyable one. Fast Fiction is a hands-on book that asks the right questions to get your mind and your story flowing. I know I’ll be using Fast Fiction over and over again. Highly recommended for fiction writers!
— Janet Gurtler, author of RITA Award finalist I’m Not Her

“Fast Fiction is full of strategies and insights that will inspire and motivate writers of every experience level — and best of all, it provides them with a solid plan to quickly complete the first draft of their next novel.”
— Mindi Scott, author of Freefall

“Fast Fiction provides writers with the perfect mix of practical guidance and the kick in the pants they need to finish that draft. This book is a must-have for writers of all levels.”
— Eileen Cook, author of The Almost Truth

Practical and down-to-earth, Denise Jaden’s Fast Fiction makes a one-month draft seem doable, even for beginners, any month of the year.”
— Jennifer Echols, author of Endless Summer and Playing Dirty

“One of the greatest challenges any writer faces is getting a great idea out of one’s brain and onto the page. Fast Fiction breaks that process down into concrete, manageable steps, each accompanied by Denise Jaden’s sage advice and enthusiastic encouragement. And anything that helps streamline the drafting process is a-okay by me! Fast Fiction is a great addition to any writer’s toolbox — I’ve got it in mine!”
— Catherine Knutsson, author of Shadows Cast by Stars

“Forget the fact that this resource is directed at those wanting to complete a fast draft — if you’re out to get your novel done, period, Jaden’s Fast Fiction will be the kick in the butt that gets you there, from story plan to ‘The End’. . . and beyond.”
— Judith Graves, author of the Skinned series for young adults

Where you can find Fast Fiction:

Help an author out:
Can't get a copy of FAST FICTION right now? I wonder if you'd consider helping out in other ways. I'd really appreciate any way that you can help!

  • Ask your library or bookstore to bring in FAST FICTION
  • Leave a review on Amazon (the more books are reviewed on Amazon, the more they will show up as suggestions for readers).
  • Mention FAST FICTION on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or pin a link to Amazon on Pinterest
Blog Tour Stops:
Comment on any of the following blog posts celebrating Fast Fiction's release to be entered to win prizes galore! 
(All Fast Fiction blog posts should be live by March 9th, or sooner. Contest will be open until March 15th. If any links don't work, stop by for updated links.)

GCC Blogs:

Additional Participating Blogs:

Remember, all you have to do is leave comments to get lots of extra entries to win some great prizes. 
Don't know what to comment about? Tell us the name of your favorite writing book!

Share this widget here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or, if the Rafflecopter Giveaway doesn't seem to be coming up on this blog, access it here:

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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Starred Review from Booklist for This Side of Salvation!

This one's been burning up my inbox for almost a month, since I had to wait until Booklist's publication date to share it. Now that day has arrived, with one month to go until This Side of Salvation's release!

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly have already weighed in with 100% positive reviews (I used my special author superpowers to read between the lines for anything negative), so TSOS is 3 for 3 so far when it comes to the major review publications. None of my previous novels have even been reviewed by more than two of these journals at once, so this is a major milestone for me.

Anyway, Booklist said:

David, 16, and his sister, Mara, mourned plenty over the military death of their older brother. Their parents, however, shifted their religiousness to a higher gear, with Dad speaking entirely in “Bibleish” (biblical quotes) and both parents becoming disciples of a charismatic preacher who predicts the Rapture—or “the Rush,” as she calls it—will occur on May 11 at 3 a.m. For this smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale, Smith-Ready juggles two time lines. The first begins on the morning of the Rush, when David and Mara return late from a party to find that their parents have vanished right on schedule. Assuming the Rush is a ridiculous notion, has something terrible, such as a dual-suicide, occurred? The second time line brings us up to speed on the past nine years, a slow-motion train wreck during which the siblings are gradually asked to abandon “all earthly pursuits.” This is a deceptively easy read in the Dana Reinhardt vein, but Smith-Ready intersects both time periods with aplomb, bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self—while never being heavy-handed. It ends up being quite a mystery and a believable one at that. An eye-opening look at the limits, uses, and misuses of faith. — Daniel Kraus

I love how he describes the Cooper family's unraveling as a "slow-motion train wreck." Sadly, that's often the way it is with families when they don't get the help they need to cope with tragedy.

The part I italicized made me do a little dance, especially the "spirit versus body" part. It took me back to when I was writing TSOS and listening to Arcade Fire's Neon Bible album EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. When it got to the last song, "My Body is a Cage," I would think about David's internal war between his physical and spiritual desires. It wasn't the stereotypical religious kid's black-and-white choice where he felt he had to remain physically or sexually "pure" to get into heaven. It was broader than that, as he tried to figure out what it meant to be in the world but not of the world.

Anyway, these philosophical issues are always percolating in my head while I'm writing, but it's hard to not to lose sight of them while trying to create a gripping story. It's nice to know that some of the stuff in my brain actually made it onto the page, stayed there through every draft and edit, then clicked with someone else's consciousness.

So yay.

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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**


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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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About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

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

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