Archive for November, 2012

Words & Music Monday with Jeri Smith-Ready

Posted November 26, 2012 By Jennifer

I’m so excited!!!!!!!! Today’s Words & Music Monday guest was pretty much tailor-made for this feature. Jeri Smith-Ready’s WVMP Radio series is ALL ABOUT the music, and how the music helps to save the characters lives (in a round about way). I love love love love love (did I mention I love) this series!!! My book club read it together earlier this year, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the final book in the series, LUST FOR LIFE, to be released. (We even designed our own radio shows and playlists that you can check out here, if you’re interested, lol.) I’m thrilled to have Jeri here to share more about how these books, and their musical counterparts, came together.

The WVMP RADIO series features a cast of vampire disc jockeys, so music is obviously at its heart and soul. Each DJ has his or own musical era, each book has its own playlist/soundtrack, and each chapter shares a title with a song.

But the most obvious musical connections are the book titles themselves: WICKED GAME, BAD TO THE BONE, BRING ON THE NIGHT, LET IT BLEED, and LUST FOR LIFE. I chose titles that would make sense even to readers who weren’t familiar with the songs, and which would hopefully resonate with the stories and characters, as all good book titles should do. The five titles chart the growth of the main character, Ciara Griffin, as her life changes more than she could’ve ever imagined.

Not surprisingly, it was a song title that gave me the whole idea for the series. On May 25, 2005 (a date I later designated as my main character’s 21st birthday), I was driving down the road when “Bad Company” by the group Bad Company came on the radio.

I thought, hey, that would make a great book title. And HEY, each book in the series could be a song starting with the word “Bad,” like “Bad to the Bone,” “Bad Medicine,” “Bad Reputation,” etc.

Fueled by the music, ideas started flowing. By the time I got to work half an hour later, I had come up with the concept for a new series I couldn’t wait to write:

  • a radio station where all the DJs are vampires
  • vampires are culturally and psychologically “stuck in time” in the era in which they were turned. They speak the slang and wear the fashions of their original “Life Times.”
  • the main character would be a recovering con artist

If I hadn’t been in the car at that moment, listening to that station, WVMP RADIO might never have been born!

Of course, after BAD COMPANY sold, my publisher asked me to change the title. I came up with a long list of options, but one clearly stood out from the pack:


Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak is one of my all-time favorite songs. It’s the classic heartbreak song, with a wailing, soul-slicing guitar riff (and one of the hottest videos ever).

“Wicked Game” the title brings to mind Ciara’s con-artist tricks, which she tends to fall back on at challenging times. Can she ever move past the lies of her past and start having real relationships, or will she forever play games with the people she loves?


This was the easiest of all the titles to come up with. Why?

Two words: vampire dog.

The character of Dexter was based on our foster dog Foots. A Great Dane/black Lab mix, he was big and friendly and loving as could be. The dog on the cover is a much more intimidating version of Dexter (which is understandable, because a big doofy pup on an urban fantasy cover wouldn’t draw in as many readers as a fierce snarly beast).

Obviously the word “bone” is a fun play on the dog aspect, and everyone knows the classic George Thorogood and the Destroyers song, “Bad to the Bone.”

The title also poses the question, faced in this second installment, of whether vampires are truly “bad to the bone”—are they inherently evil, or do they make a choice to be bad or good? BAD TO THE BONE’s main villains are a cult called the Fortress, made up of humans obsessed with hunting and destroying vampires. Ciara compares them to her loving, reasonably stable vampire boyfriend, Shane, and realizes that even though he’s technically a monster, he’s HER monster.


This pivotal, game-changing third book in the WVMP series has a darker tone than the first two (and is also the only one written in past tense, framed by a pair of present-tense chapters). The song “Bring on the Night” by The Police has a jaunty feel, featuring that band’s signature punk-reggae blend. But it has its ominous undertones, shown by the lyrics:

The future is but a question mark

Hangs above my head, there in the dark

Can’t see for the brightness is staring me blind

God bid yesterday good-bye

I love subverting typical notions of good and evil, light and dark. So the title “Bring on the Night” reflects the backward nature of vampires. For them, night is welcome rather than frightening—it’s when they feel at home. In BRING ON THE NIGHT the novel, everything changes and Ciara’s life will never be the same. But Ciara’s not one to mourn the past. “Bring it on!” she says to this strange new future.


“Let It Bleed” the novella (Book 3.5, I call it) it is an essential part of the WVMP RADIO series. You can download it in all major ebook formats on my website including PDF, which can be printed out.

I remember as a pre-teen being scandalized by the decadent lyrics to “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones. There’s a reason it didn’t get a lot of radio play! But at its heart it’s a song about friendship and having someone you can count on at your lowest moments. Some of Ciara’s most reliable relationships are tested in this novella.

“Let It Bleed” is all about blood in several ways: obviously the vampires need blood to survive. But Ciara also meets several cousins, who happen to be criminals like her parents (and like she used to be). She has to decide where her loyalty lies: with her blood relatives or with her family-of-choice at WVMP.


I always knew the final book would be named after the Iggy Pop song “Lust for Life. Its driving beat and sardonic lyrics encapsulate the tone of the entire series

Vampires obviously have a literal “lust for life,” since they need human blood to survive. Though they have the option of consuming blood-bank blood, most prefer it fresh from the vein of a willing donor, and not just because it has higher nutritional value. They crave it because it’s closest they can come to the one thing they’ll never have again: life.

I can’t even hint at how “Lust for Life” describes the last stage of Ciara’s journey, for fear of spoiling the ending. But I hope that those of you who’ve been along for the whole ride will enjoy her wildest adventure yet.

If you’re new to the series or have started it but haven’t finished, I’m giving away a signed, personalized copy of any book in the WVMP RADIO series (winner’s choice) to one commenter who answers any of the following questions, using the songs on one of the WVMP playlists as their answer:

  • If your life story was a book or movie, which song would be its title?
  • Which band would you most love to have perform at your next birthday party?
  • (For current WVMP readers) Which playlist is your favorite and why?
  • (For future WVMP readers) Which playlist intrigues you most about the books and why?

Remember, you only have to answer one question (though feel free to answer more for fun), and your answer must come from one of the playlists on the WVMP music page. This contest is open to international readers, and will run from today (Nov 26th) through midnight pacific on Sunday, Dec 2nd.

As they say in the radio business, thanks for listening!

Jeri loves to hear from readers—follow her on Twitter or Facebook, or visit her website, where she has tons of extras, including WVMP short stories, music, merchandise, and more! She is sad that the series concludes November 27 with LUST FOR LIFE, but thrilled that readers can finally share in Ciara and Shane’s happy ending.

6 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Giving Thanks, and Giving Things Away!!

Posted November 22, 2012 By Jennifer

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you lovelies who live in the United States. (And everyone who takes time to be thankful, regardless of the day.)

A couple of the authors who’ll be attending Olde City, New Blood wanted to help celebrate the holiday, and the event, by giving away a few things. Then, YOU’LL have a few more things to be thankful for! 🙂

Mary Calmes is a beloved name in the M/M fiction community. Her books cover a wide spectrum of topics, from dramatic contemporary romance, to action packed paranormals. For us, she’s offering up the complete collection of her paranormal romance WARDER Series short stories (2 print anthologies, 3 stories each), and they’ll be autographed for the winner!!


Elisabeth Staab is attracting quite the following for her new urban fantasy series, starting with KING OF DARKNESS (follow up, PRINCE OF POWER, will be out in January). She’s going to award one lucky reader FREE registration to Olde City, New Blood in Florida in February!! (Winner is responsible for travel and hotel costs.)

One thing I’m thankful for are all the authors who spend so much time, effort, and emotion bringing us stories we love.

Comment below with something YOU’RE thankful for this Thanksgiving, or something you’re looking forward to this holiday season, for your chance to win one of the prizes above. Please mention which prize, the autographed WARDER Series from Mary or the Olde City, New Blood registration from Elisabeth, you’d like to win. Every comment is one entry into the random drawing… if you post about this giveaway on your facebook or twitter, and include the link in the comments, that will earn you a second entry! Contest will run from now til December 1st, midnight pacific. Winners will be announced and contacted on December 2nd.

I’m thankful for all of YOU, my lovely readers, and I hope you’ve had a fantastic holiday. Good luck!!


22 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Blog Tour: BITTERSWEET SERAPHIM by Debra Anastasia

Posted November 20, 2012 By Jennifer

Bittersweet Seraphim has been released from Hell. 

Satan Jack invites you to come…and indulge yourself in his journey to save the angel he loves. After running Hell for over a thousand years one foul-mouthed Seraph has changed his end game.

Even if it means destroying the universe, Jack refuses to give up on Emma. He didn’t know what love was until Emma’s skin pressed against his, the addiction to any of his other vices paling in comparison. Jack has never been a fearful man, but he gets it now. Fear comes when you have something to lose. Or someone.


Suffering is worst when you’re doing it alone. But Emma’s taking Hell like an angel—even though her languishing began with having her seraph wings torn from her back. Now her worst enemy lords his body and his evil desires over her while she tries desperately to remember the words to her favorite prayer.

As Devil, Jack used to have Hell and its women humming like well-oiled machines. Too bad he’s nowhere near the place now. Stuck on Earth as a human, he must work with a ragtag team of exiled minions and half-breeds to save the angel who’s become all that matters.

Rescuing a seraph is the plan, but breaking into Hell means letting evil things out. Once they collide, minions and angels converge in the battle of the ages: good versus evil. But which side is which? Will Jack destroy the world as he fights to save Emma, his true and timeless love, from a damnation he designed?

An action-packed sequel to Crushed Seraphim, this tale reveals—time and again—what happens when the heart’s deepest desires break free. With a story both sizzling and sensual, emotional and enigmatic, Debra Anastasia invites readers to join a battle with nothing less than love on the line.


Omnific Publishing

Barnes & Noble


I’m SO excited for this blog tour, and this book!!!! My lovely friend Debra Anastasia, and Omnific Publishing, have offered up TWO eCOPIES of both books in the series!!!!! Comment below with which book you’d like to win, book 1, CRUSHED SERAPHIM, or book 2, (released today!!) BITTERSWEET SERAPHIM. This story is fresh, sexy, and full of action and wit. I can’t wait for you all to get your hands on Jack!!! Contest ends tomorrow night (November 21st), at midnight pacific. Good luck, everyone!!!

Go to Debra Anastasia’s BLOG for a list of tour stops, more chances to win, and a buddy prize with crystal bracelets!

4 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

CITY OF BONES!!! Teaser Trailer and Giveaway

Posted November 15, 2012 By Jennifer


Yes, folks… it’s November, and we have to wait until AUGUST, but at least we’ve now got a teaser trailer for the movie adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s CITY OF BONES (The Mortal Instruments, #1)!!!! I know, I know… the movies are NEVER as good as the books, and I’m sure we’ll all have a lovely grumble about the many things that they shoulda done differently. But for now… I’m just gonna sit here and watch the teaser trailer…. again… and again… and maybe one more time, lol…

SOOOOOOOOO… what do YOU THINK???? What’s your favorite part of the trailer?? Does anything surprise you in it? Is your favorite part of the book in there?? I can’t wait to hear how you all like it 🙂 (I’m gonna go watch it again, while you’re all thinking about it, lol…)

If you have NOT read the books (I’m shaking my head and looking at you sternly right now…) add “I want to win City of Bones” to your comment about the trailer. One person will be randomly selected to win book one in The Mortal Instruments series (print or ebook, international). Contest ends at midnight, pacific, tonight, November 15th. ::Warning:: You’re gonna be on your own for the rest of the series, and trust me… you’re GOING TO NEED THE REST… so start saving your pennies… and GOOD LUCK!!

6 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Blog Tour: GRETA AND THE GOBLIN KING by Chloe Jacobs

Posted November 12, 2012 By Jennifer
Today’s Words & Music Monday falls into the schedule for Chloe Jacobs‘ GRETA AND THE GOBLIN KING blog tour. You’ll remember I helped with the cover reveal for this a while back, and I’m excited to share a little more detail about the book and the author in anticipation of it’s release TOMORROW!!!
Music plays a large part in all of my writing, whether it appears somewhere/somehow in the book I’m writing, or it becomes part of my writing routine.
In GRETA AND THE GOBLIN KING I had both. In the story, music is something that Greta uses to keep from forgetting where she comes from. Mylena is a foreign world where humans are reviled and killed on sight, so Greta can’t afford to let anyone recognize who she really is, but remembering the songs she learned from her childhood helps her hold onto her past and have hope that she’ll find a way back home one day.
Unfortunately, a lot of this part of the storyline was cut in the editing process, but when I was writing, it was an important way for me to find out what made the character of Greta tick. I tried to think of the kinds of songs she would have liked, what song lyrics she would try to hang onto when she found herself stranded in a hostile world.
Greta struck me as a rocker chick. I don’t think it would have mattered to her what time period a song was from, as long as it was something with a heavy beat that gave her strength or made her feel something, so I put together a short playlist of the songs I listened to which helped me get into Greta’s head:
  • Evanescence                          My Immortal
  • Bjork                                        Army of Me
  • Metric                                      Combat Baby
  • Billy Talent                              Rusted From the Rain
  • Puddle of Mudd                        Famous
  • Breaking Benjamin                 Dance with the Devil
  • Maroon Five                            Misery
  • Portishead                               Glorybox
  • Good Charlotte                       Keep Your Hands Off My Girl
  • 30 Seconds to Mars                The Kill
While trying to save her brother from the witch three years ago, Greta was thrown into the fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon.
To survive, 17-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil being knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the boys she finds stranded in the woods will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back . . .

Chloe Jacobs is a native of nowhere and everywhere, having jumped around to practically every Province of Canada before finally settling in Ontario where she has now been living for a respectable number of years. Her husband and son are the two best people in the entire world, but they also make her wish she’d at least gotten a female cat. No such luck. And although the day job keeps her busy, she carves out as much time as possible to write. Bringing new characters to life and finding out what makes them tick and how badly she can make them suffer is one of her greatest pleasures, almost better than chocolate and fuzzy pink bunny slippers.
Her debut Young Adult fantasy, GRETA AND THE GOBLIN KING, will be available everywhere Winter 2012! In the meantime, check her out online…
Website / Twitter / Facebook/ Goodreads
Be the first to comment