Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Confessions of a Hopeless Fangirl

My name is Jackson Pearce, and I am a fangirl.

Not just the kind of fangirl who says “Ooo, I love those books!” I’m a midnight-release-party-going, fanpage-visiting, squeal-because-a-new-book-just-released fangirl.

I know of at least one author who has gotten in trouble for this. She blogged along the lines of “omg FAMOUS AUTHOR X knows my name!” and someone from her publishing house gave her the internet version of a sweet smile, then said “You’re a real author now. That means no more gushing. It looks unprofessional.”

And maybe it does. Maybe I’m not supposed to jump up and down over the people who, essentially, are my colleagues. It probably isn’t professional to make shirts out of book covers and proudly wear them to the bookstore (although I think my Mrs. Potter shirt I wore to the final Harry Potter release was pretty fantastic anyway).

But I can’t help it, professional or not. I get excited about books, and I get excited about the authors behind those books. I’m excited to see people line up at midnight to read. Excited to know that me and thousands of other people around the world, people whom I’ve never met, have common ground in our love for a book. How awesome is that I could travel across the country, drop into a strange town, and probably easily find someone who also stayed up all night to read MOCKINGJAY in full? (Which, by the way, WAS IT NOT AWESOME? Say it was awesome. You know it was.)

If anything, I’ve only become a more pronounced fangirl since being published, because I understand the months of writing, revising, the soul crushing need to delete favorite scenes, the seemingly endless revisions letters. I’m eager to support the author hardcore, because I get what she went through. How relieved she is to see the book on shelves, finally. How can I not get fangirly over someone accomplishing what I am always trying to accomplish with each new novel (a great book)?

So yes, I am a fangirl. I will squeal right along beside you over books I adore, and professional or not, I’m pretty proud of it. I like being giddy over stories, being delighted over the product of an industry I’ve worked so hard to be a part of. But mostly, I just really, really, really like awesome books.

Fangirls, unite!

-Jackson Pearce

Friday, August 13, 2010

We have a CafePress Store!

I'm interrupting your regularly scheduled blog for a "business" announcement.  As some readers may have heard, we're having t-shirts made up as tour prizes.  Readers had asked about buying them at venues.  That won't be possible, so we've created a CafePress store. Everything from tanks to tees to hoodies there.  If you buy one and bring it to a tour stop, we'll have permanent markers, so the authors can sign yours (if you want!)

You'll find the store here:

Below are a few samples, modelled by the lovely and talented Chick, Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For the Love Of...Paranormal Romance

Hello Smart Chickadees!

It's Melissa de la Cruz here, author of the Blue Bloods series! I've enjoyed reading the posts below and hearing from my fellow authors on this awesome tour, the celebration of all things supernatural ('Supernatural Buffet' I think is my new favorite term) and today I thought I'd talk a little about a theme that's found in all of our books.

What IS it about paranormal romance? Why is an undead/zombie/demon/angel/vampire hottie so appealing right now? To answer this question I'd like trace my own relationship with romance.

When I first started writing, I was very young and arrogant and had very high-falutin' ideas about writing. I believed romance cheapened a book, I had very "literary" ideals, and so I wrote books without any hint of love, books about girls who wanted MORE than to end up with the guy. (Because you know, strong girls are girls who don't need boys, right?)

But for some reason no one wanted to publish these books, much less read them. They were boring, without conflict, and hard to relate to. I stewed and sulked. WHY GOD WHY was I not being published?

As I grew older, as a person and as a writer, I finally admitted the truth, that in fact, I *loved* a good love story. That I was WRONG about the dreaded 'R-word'. In fact, the romance and the love stories were my FAVORITE parts of my favorite books. Hermione and Ron for instance, are the reason why I love Harry Potter so much. And I love Lord of the Rings because of Aragorn and Arwen, even though in the books she only appears in the epilogue. Dune? My favorite series of all time? Was dear to me because Paul and Chani have such a tragic love story.

So if I loved the love stories so much--why wasn't I putting them in my books? That was my Oprah 'Aha!' moment. That I could write books with strong and smart girl characters who could fall desperately in love, sometimes even with the wrong boy. And sometimes they might make silly decisions about love and that was okay, because people certainly make silly decisions when they are in love all the time. (For instance, I get a lot of reader mail about how 'weak' Schuyler is in Revelations because she's so blinded by love. In the Dark Tower series, another of my favorite fantasy series, Roland is so blinded by love for Susan that all these tragic things happen, including her death. I loved that idea--that love, even true love, could result in tragedy and weakness in a strong person.)

So, why paranormal romance then? I think because in a paranormal romance the stakes are so much higher, the love is so much more tragic, dramatic, passionate and all-or-nothing. It makes a good story. It's a story of opposites attracting, of forbidden love, of taboos, of forever love, paranormal romance heightens the classic romance to epic heights.

Love stories, romance, is the center of our humanity, it's what makes life worth living, it's the story that defines our lives. How did you meet? How did he propose? How did you know he/she was the one? And in my opinion, a love story that involves magic, or the end of the world, or a dangerous curse, is even better.

We're looking forward to sharing our stories with you and meeting you on the road! What's your favorite kind of love story? Forbidden? (We cannot be togethah!) A friendship that grows to more? (BFF to BF) A battle between two former antagonists? (I hate you now I love you.) Share!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Short 'n' Sweet, plus how YOU can be part of our worlds

Hey there! Welcome to the armpit of the calendar--or as I like to call it, “August.” I hope you’re finding fun ways to keep cool, preferably involving beaches, mountain lakes, or at least an air-conditioned house. (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s winter, can I come stay with you? I’ll be very quiet, and I’ll even walk your dog.)

Brief intro: I’m Jeri Smith-Ready, (aka “Who?”) author of the YA urban fantasy SHADE and next May’s sequel, SHIFT. The SHADE series takes place in a world full of ghosts only the young can see. The main character, Aura, would love to make them all go away—until her boyfriend dies and becomes a ghost. I’ve also written seven adult books in various fantasy realms. I am way too fond of parentheses.

Today’s blog is part topic, part news!

During this fall’s Smart Chicks Tour, many of us will literally be taking to the road (8.5 hours from Cincy to Toronto isn’t that far to drive overnight, right? Please say yes.). Inspired by the love of said road, many authors on the tour will be writing short stories for a Smart Chicks anthology, coming next fall from HarperCollins!

Each story will have a road trip theme, but that’s not the exciting part. Wait for it…okay, no more waiting.

Attendees at Smart Chicks Tour stops can enter a drawing to have a character from one of our short stories named after them! In science fiction/fantasy land, this is known as “Tuckerization” (after some guy named--well, you can figure it out).

As a reader, I love short stories. They introduce me to a lot of new/new-to-me authors, or show me an unexplored corner of a world I already adore.

I recently read a collection of YA vampire stories called ETERNAL: LOVE STORIES WITH BITE, edited by PC Cast (not a random reading choice--I have a story in the second volume, IMMORTAL, which is subtitled, shockingly, MORE LOVE STORIES WITH BITE).

Two of my favorite stories were by Smart Chicks authors (no surprise there). Rachel Vincent’s “Binge” takes place in her Soul Screamers universe, but with entirely new characters, with different powers than her bean sidhe. It stood on its own apart from the series but showed the conflicts her characters face when dealing with humans. In Rachel Caine’s “Dead Man Stalking,” we get to see the Morganville Vampires world through the eyes of Shane Collins.


Um, where was I? And why is there--eww, is that drool?


This story collection also introduced me to the heart-pounding writing of Nancy Holder (yes, I’m such a n00b to have not read her yet, but I’m working on it!), prompting a book-buying binge from which I may never recover.

As authors, short stories give us the chance to invent a new world, or further explore our current worlds--either through brand-new characters or characters whose heads we’ve always wanted to climb into. For my Smart Chicks story, I’m going to let Logan Keeley show me firsthand what it’s like to be a ghost. I expect it to be weird, with lots of loud music.

Here’s the first paragraph, as it stands in the rough draft:

Everyone knows Elvis died in the bathroom. Thanks to the internet, most people know that I did, too. But at least I was wearing pants.


Do you seek out short stories by authors you love? Do you consider stories to be a crucial piece of a series, or are they more of an “icing on the cake” experience? Have you ever discovered a new author through a collection or anthology? And of course the obvious question: do you enjoy short stories at all?

Everyone who comments below by this time next week will be entered to win their choice of a published book by any Smart Chicks author. (If you choose SHADE, I’ll autograph and personalize it for you and even give it a hug. If you’re into that sort of thing.)

I hope to see many of you in Cincinnati and Toronto this September! Until then, stay cool.