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.


  1. I have discovered new authors through anthologies. I'm actually not much of a browser in the bookstore. I have favorite authors and since most of them write series, I tend to have plenty to read. When I have added a new author to my favorite-I-must-read-everything-they-have-ever-written list, it has been because of work in an anthology probably 75% of the time. :)

  2. I enjoy novellas. They allow you to try a new to you author's writing and you get to read favorite authors works too. I think they are the icing on the cake of a series.


  3. Short stories are an added bonus for me. Sometimes it's hard because you wish there was more.

    I read and loved Shade!

  4. I only really read short stories if they are done by a favorite author. If they are from a different pov from a character in their series I love them. So, I definetly think they are just icing on the cake but sometimes I don't want the icing.

  5. I love short stories. Not only do they give an author the opportunity to explore new characters, they're also a great craft tool. You can experiment with tense, POV, and voice. Or perfect your craft by layering, revising and editing on a small scale.

    Also I've discover many new - now favorite - authors through anthologies. :)

    I can't wait until you chicks get to Dayton and Cincy!!!


  6. I love short stories. It gives me a chance to read even more stories by my favorite authors.

    I LOVED Shade. I'm a huge fan!

  7. I definately seek out short stories and believe they are VERY crucial! (but they are icing too and I eat them up!) SHORT STORIES ARE AWESOME! Especially when you are too busy to sit down with a full length book. They are like the esspresso shot of the book world!

  8. I like short stories. They're a good way to discover new authors.

  9. I always get short story books and then I read each story...but first I go back and try to read everything that came before it, because I'm totally OCD like that...even if I don't need to know what happened before, I still have to go back before I can read the short story!
    Can't wait for the Toronto stop (*Brampton actually lol) and this contest for the short story is gonna be so incredibly awesome!

  10. My favorite short stories tend not to be part of a series necessarily--Tanith Lee's, for instance, rarely are and are some of my favorites. But yeah, some short stories do inspire me to check out the author's novels; in particular, Patricia Briggs' "Alpha and Omega" short story inspired me to get the novels in that series because it was just that good!

  11. I love short stories, it's a great to explore a new avenue in an existing world or take the first steps into some new world.

  12. To me, short stories are the beginning of a writer's career. Most authors I know got their feet wet by entering simple contests with their short stories. For now, the only writing credits I have are from published short stories. I've always though you get more bang for your buck out of a collection of shorts. Yet, in a novel, each chapter should read like a mini-short story unto its own, I'm confused. Okay, I love short stories and I love novels too. There.

  13. I am so excited for this tour!
    I also have discovered new authors through short stories and anthologies. I love picking them up because you never know what you are going to find. :)

  14. Do you seek out short stories by authors you love? Not usually. But if I hear about one I don't hesitate to find it and read it!

    Do you consider stories to be a crucial piece of a series, or are they more of an “icing on the cake” experience? I think of them as more of 'icing on the cake'. I enjoy reading more about characters from stories I love and I am happy to read ANYTHING I can find about them, but don't always find it crucial to the main plot.

    Have you ever discovered a new author through a collection or anthology? Actually no. But I am going to have to pay more attention to that now.. usually in an anthology I read the author I know/the story I am looking for and then ignore the rest of the book. :)

    And of course the obvious question: do you enjoy short stories at all? YES!! I always want to know more. However, I usually wish the story would keep going. The short stories just taunt us with little snippets! :)

    Thanks for the posting!

  15. I love short stories, and I do actively seek them out! I actually had Richelle Mead sign the anthology Immortal that also has a story from Rachel Caine. Shorts seem to add another dimension to the story and give you a more in depth view of the characters! I've discovered a lot of new authors while reading short story collections like Immortals, Prom Nights from Hell, etc.....

    Thanks for the great post and giveaway!

  16. I always seek out short stories by my favorite authors. I want to read as many stories by them as I can. To me they're "icing on the cake" mostly because they aren't necessary for me to read, but I just love getting an extra piece of my favorite characters. I've discovered a bunch of new authors from anthologies and I just adore them. They're quick, interesting and always leave me wanting more! I'm a huge fan of short stories.

    Loved the post and can't wait to meet you at the Toronto signing! Already bought my copy of Shade and am hoping to get my copy of Wicked Game soon...considering I share the same name as the main character...and it's about vampires...and I already read it and loved it :D

  17. I guess you could say that I seek out short stories of my favorite author, if a little bit obsessively. If there is a short story in a book that I hear about, or a short story treat they choose to share with readers online, I absolutely love to read them. To me they are more of ‘the icing on the cake’ because most authors do not ritually have the time to write them up, plus I have found they are an amazing way to develop a character or setting and they are generally page-turning eye openers. :-) I have discovered a new author before by reading a short story, but there are just sooo many that I am not always able to read their books when I want. And, finally, in case you could not yet tell, I looove short stories! :-)

  18. I buy any-book as long as it was once mentioned by my favorite authors or are by my favorite authors. Same for short stories. Since Immortal: Love Stories With Bite had authors like Rachel Caine, Claudia Gray, Richelle Mead,and Kristin Cast, I decided to buy it, and it lead me more authors to read from. I definitely have to buy Immortal: More Love Stories With Bite.

  19. I do look for SS from my favorite authors. It really depends on the story as to if it's icing or crucial. Some give great extras, some fill in gaps. I like anthologies because I can get my favorites and find "new to me" authors. I've found new favorites that way.
    Great first paragraph.. what a hook!
    Hoping to get to Cinci for the signing :)

  20. I LOVE short stories, especially when they have to do with a series I'm reading, like the short stories Kelley Armstrong writes online. I Love those!! It's great reading the different POV's

  21. I love short stories. I've even written a few. An anthology is a great way to follow the authors you love into new worlds or expanding on the ones you love, also it's a great way to get a feel for new-to-you authors.

  22. I love short stories, it's like going to a grocery store on a Saturday and stopping by all the sample booths. Trying out many different styles you may have over looked otherwise.

  23. Do you seek out short stories by authors you love? Not usually but when I hear about them I'm interested in reading them.
    Do you consider stories to be a crucial piece of a series, or are they more of an “icing on the cake” experience? def icing!
    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? yes

  24. So excited to see you authors on tour!

  25. When is the drawing?
    Thank you all so very much for doing this!! I love that you are touring and giving us the opportunity to win these little contests!

  26. The winner is...Bellasguardian! Bellasguardian, please send your name, address, and your choice of book (any books already published by one of the authors on the Smart Chicks tour) to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

    Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts. Hope to see you on the tour!