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.