Monday, May 18, 2009

Wednesday's special is...Bad to the Bone!

Fresh off the presses, today we bring you, in a bizarre coincidence, more supernatural DJ activity (see Erica Orloff roast from Tuesday!):

BAD TO THE BONE by Jeri Smith-Ready
(Pocket Books, May 19, 2009)
Book 2 in the WVMP RADIO urban fantasy series and sequel to WICKED GAME

In the sequel to 2008's WICKED GAME, former con artist Ciara Griffin and her vampire DJs face a new threat to their struggling station (WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll): their broadcast signal is pirated by a religious firebrand, and their lives threatened by the shadowy organization behind it all.

Now Ciara must protect the station while coping with her new boyfriend (vampire DJ Shane), her new best friend (vampire dog Dexter), and the nature of her mysterious anti-holy powers. To make it to New Year’s in one piece, she’ll need to learn a few new tricks...

“Smith-Ready pours plenty of fun into her charming, fang-in-cheek
urban fantasy” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


We stumble through a thick copse of trees—or more precisely, David and
I stumble. Shane and Jim have the coordination and night vision of
natural predators—not that their blood donors ever provide much of a

We come to a small clearing at the base of the cross, about fifteen
feet in diameter. It’s almost completely dark, since the patriotic
spotlight sits on the ground on the other side of the trees.

I sweep the flashlight beam across the clearing. “So where would a

Two glowing red eyes stare out of the darkness.

“What the—”

In front of me, Jim halts and holds out an arm. “Whoa.”

A hunched black shape slouches in front of the white structure. The
clank of a chain rises over the sound of the wind in the trees. A low
growl stops my breath.

Suddenly the creature roars and leaps forward. I jump back, squealing
like a little girl. The chain rattles, then jerks tight.

Shane grabs my arm. “It’s just a dog.”

Can’t be. The noise it makes sounds like a cross between a rabid
cougar and a locomotive.

“I’ve never seen a dog like that.” David looks just as scared as I am.

“Don’t worry.” Shane moves a little closer, stepping sideways. “It’s
tied up.”

I gesture for David to stay back, then follow Shane. The barking
grows louder but higher-pitched. Finally the flashlight fully
illuminates the dog, and I let myself relax.

It probably weighs twice as much as I do, and my head might fit inside
its mouth, but its tail is wagging, and it’s play-bowing and clawing
the ground at the end of the chain.

“It’s okay, buddy,” I murmur. “We’re here to help.”

The dog’s bark turns to a whimper as I approach. My light reveals
ribs and hip bones showing through patchy black fur. Its head is
square, but its legs are long, lending a mismatched, rangy look. Huge
eyes reflect the light with a green glow.

When I’m a few feet away, the dog drops to its belly, then rolls over,
pawing the air and rubbing its—wait, his—back on the gravelly dirt.

“Looks friendly enough,” Shane says.

“It could be a trick.” David’s voice gets fainter as he backs up
behind me. “It could be luring you in, looking all innocent.”

“Dogs are a lot of things, but they’re not con artists.” I kneel near
the animal, out of range of the chain. He stops groveling and gets to
his feet, then shakes off the dust with a horse-like shudder of his hide.

“You’re all right now.” I keep my voice low and even, my gaze on his
shoulder instead of his eyes as I extend my hand, palm down and
curled, for him to sniff. He licks my fingertips, his tail whipping
back and forth like a puppy’s. “What a good boy. You’re someone’s
pet, aren’t you?” I examine his huge black face, crisscrossed with
faded gray scars. “Or maybe bait for a pit bull trainer. You’re too
nice to be a fighter yourself.”

“You know what’s freaky?” Jim says. “He’s not barking at me.”

As if to prove the point, the dog wags his tail at the hippie vampire.
Jim laughs and sings the first line to Led Zeppelin’s “Black
Dog”—off-key, as usual. The pup wags harder.

“Whoever put him here doesn’t deserve him.” I stand and dust the dirt
off my knees. “So we should take custody.”

Shane comes up next to me. “You mean steal him?”

“Not steal, liberate.”


To win a copy of Bad to the Bone - tell us - what's the most exciting thing you've ever 'liberated'?

Click here for Jeri's web site and purchasing details!

And click here to read the first chapter!

And follow Jeri on Twitter here.


Shona Snowden said...

Hm, I have some serious timing issues - but it's Tuesday night with you, Wednesday lunchtime here (chicken rice, yum) and let's get roasting...

I'm very honest and law abiding, but somebody very close to me, no names, once liberated an entire painting, complete with frame, from the bar of a hotel. It took two of them to carry it out. So wrong. And yet, so bold...

Pissenlit said...

I once liberated a poor marionette, let's call him Bob. Bob belonged to a friend's family. Several years ago, Bob had an accident that left him all askew, tangled up and hung out to dry. I was told that on many occasions over the years, various family members have tried to free poor Bob Marionette from his string prison but to no avail. They told me that this was Bob's fate but if I wanted to stage a breakout, I was welcome to try. Two minutes later, Bob was out and about, a free marionette. We danced that afternoon but it wasn't meant to be. We parted on good terms and I never saw Bob again.

Chris Eldin said...

Oh, how I've been tempted to do something similar!!

In Dubai, there are PRICELESS works of art hanging up within all the hotels (since these are 5 and 6 star hotels, you can imagine...) and SOOOO easy for the taking. Problem is, if you get caught, I think they'd chop off your hand. Can't be sure about that though.
Hey, does your friend need a bigger challenge?

Jeri said...

Hey everyone, welcome to my roasting. Mmmm, the sweet smell of singed pages....

Hope you all have a good time with the fascinating question. Just make sure the statute of limitations has run out in your jurisdiction before you confess, okay? ;-)

I'll be in and out all day, so if you have any questions or comments about the books, just shout 'em out!

Amygdalia said...

Well, I thought and thought about this one, and aside from some fairly lame accidental liberations (a kids cup that was not meant to leave the restaurant, for example), the most exciting thing I can come up with is library books. As a child there were a few books that I just fell so utterly in love with that I couldn't bear to part with them. I wonder what that says about me?

My hubby once liberated a traffic sign and hung it in his college dorm room.

laughingwolf said...

welcome jeri... i like anyone friendly to us dog-type critters, shona ;)

this being a family roast, can't really answer the Q... :O lol

but i did liberate my sis from her crib by taking out one of the side bars... she refused to come out... so i went to the open window, slipped from the sill, and fell two floors to the ground... unhurt

years later, she said she was smarter... i agreed

[word verifier: rebrum, goes well with the sizzling steaks :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I've never liberated much that was exciting. But for a while one summer in 77 a friend and I found and consummed lots of beers that other teenagers had hidden.

Unknown said...

The most exciting thing I've liberated would be a hanger. My husband was extremely angry (not at me) and wanted something to break. He picked up the hanger and I said, "hand over the hanger and no one gets hurt" then he laughed and all was fine.

Chris said...

The computer lab at the U of MN had these great black mousepads with white printing: "DO NOT STEAL. Property of the University of Minnesota Computer Science Department." Um, really, how could I resist?

Riva said...

I've never liberated anything big - Mom got her bluff in early. I took a pack of gum when I was a very small child. Mom found out and made me return it - by myself. Traumatized me so badly I never could bring myself to take anything again.

Shona Snowden said...

The one time I accidentally took a packet of chips from a shop, I went back and paid for it the next day. There. That's my monumental confession. Whip me now.

Jeri, have you planned out all the books in the series?

Jeri said...

You all have some great stories of, uh, liberation here.

Shona: I bet the painting stealers just acted as if they were supposed to be moving it. Chutzpah is half the battle in open-air theft (also known as con artistry ;-)

Pissenlit: Now I know what my nightmare will consist of tonight--Bob, the liberated marionette, running wild through the world. Tell me you don't live in North America.

Chris: Yikes, good point about getting your hand chopped off. Probably not worth the rush of liberation.

Amygdalia: I think I had a few library books from high school that became mysteriously "lost." And I definitely remember the phenomenon of sign stealage among college males. My friends used to take the sign from the student center, the one with the moveable letters for events, rearrange the letters to say something dorky and/or obscene, and then put it back.

Jeri said...

laughingwolf: Yay, dogs rule! Oh wait, no, that's cats rule, dogs drool, according to my cat. So your solution to liberating your sister was to jump your own self out the window? Interesting angle to take.

Charles: Found beer is the tastiest! Or is that free beer? Same thing, I guess.

Bridget: Now you shall be forever known throughout the internet as the Hanger Savior.

Chris: Oh yes, I agree--anything with DO NOT STEAL written on the front is just begging for it. You almost have an obligation.

Riva: Oh, the shame! That must have made you feel awful. Sounds like her tactic really worked, though. :-)

Shona: I do have them loosely planned out (for now, heh). At this point I have five books planned for this series. Book 3 is already in rough draft form, Book 4 has a few pages of outline and some notes, and my entire plan for Book 5 can be summed up in one sentence (sorry, can't reveal it ;-).

Thanks so much for having me here!

Pissenlit said...

Jeri - Now I know what my nightmare will consist of tonight--Bob, the liberated marionette, running wild through the world. Tell me you don't live in North America.

I could totally tell you I don't live in North America! But then I'd be lying. :D

Ya, sorry, I know marionettes aren't everyone's cup of tea. I on the other hand loved those Gerry Anderson shows done with Supermarionation(best word EVER). I figured the story of Bob was more fun than the time a few university friends and I got really bored late at night and went around liberating rolls of toilet paper from every other floor's bathrooms in dorm. *snicker*

Shona Snowden said...

Ah, uni days. I've just remembered I did once have a traffic cone in my room at university, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a gift.

Jeri, you haven't 'fessed up to anything yet...

Do you have any other writing plans - short stories, stand alones, articles?

Jeri said...

Well, I may have helped steal a few things in college, like the aforementioned signs. ;-)

As for other projects, I have a young adult urban fantasy series starting next year with SHADE, about a girl on a quest to discover why she and everyone younger than her can see ghosts. She'd like to make them all go away, until her boyfriend dies and becomes a ghost himself (kinda complicates things ;-). And I still have three more vampire books to write, so I keep very busy!

I do have a few short stories, tying in to the vampire series, the "origin stories" of each of the vampires. I put them up free on my website to give my readers a little something to hold them over between books, or new readers a taste of my writing:

ShaneJimSpencerMonroeThey're all very different, since they're told in the voices of the different DJs, and of course since they were created in different time periods, they're set in those years, from the 1940s up to the 1990s.

And like the books themselves, each story has its own playlist you can listen to while you read! :-)

Jeri said...

Hmm, those links didn't run together when I previewed the comment. Let me try again:


Anonymous said...

I liberated an earthworm from certain doom this week. Seriously. My wife, daughter, baby son, and I were taking a walk and a poor earthworm was struggling on the sidewalk. Of course the daughter noticed. So, I picked up the little guy and put him in the grass.

When we walked back through he wasn't there, so he must've made his way back into the ground. Or a bird got him. Whatever. :)

Jeri said...

strugglingwriter: Aww, how good of you. We had a conversation on Twitter a few weeks back about what to do with worms on the sidewalk (there seem to be a lot this year!).

I'm sure it made its way back underground. It's amazing how fast they can slip into the dirt when they're motivated. :-)

Anonymous said...

Jeri, I had a brief moment when I thought eww, a worm. Then I thought to myself, I'm a man, I can touch a worm! Then I remembered all the poor worms I drowned when I used to fish and figured I owed their side some love. :)

Jeri said...

Ah yes, worm karma. Many of us ex-fishers have much to make up for. :-)

Pissenlit said...

*shudder* I was more of a rubber worm kinda gal when it came to fishing.

Jeri said...

Pissenlit: I remember those--the translucent violet/magenta ones? Too pretty to feed to the fishies. Plus they never worked.

Calliope said...

Oh, jeez, I dunno...I can't say I've ever taken custody of a vampooch before, or anything half so exciting, but my cat from the pet store, my sister from a conversation with a senile old great aunt and my brother from a closet...does that last one still count if I put him back in a minute later?

Lori T said...

I really have not "liberated" too many things in my life. When I was younger (ok, much younger) I liberated a menu from a Pizza Hut just to keep as a momento of the wonderful and fun time that I had with my friends that night.

I am so looking forward to reading Bad To the Bone! I have checked my local bookstores and they say they have a copy...but I am still waiting and checking daily!

BrigidsBlest said...

The most exciting thing I ever liberated?

Probably an entire sack of candy bars. I was 6 years old (first grade) and my mom worked at the local grocery store/gas station/bar (hey, it was rural Iowa in the early 70s). I'd been watching a lot of TV at that age, and the credit card commercials fascinated me. So after the school bus dropped me off there one winter afternoon, I went inside and grabbed a paper bag and filled it up with about 20 candy bars. My mom was not working that afternoon (thankfully!), and I told the lady behind the counter, "My mommy Judy works here. CHARGE IT!" and headed out the door with my loot.

My dad showed up about 10 minutes later, as I was walking down the country road to the lane that led to my house. I assume now that the counter lady at the store called him. I had to take the bag back (I never said it was a successful liberation) and apologize for stealing, and then he took me home and I got spanked.

Ah, well. I'll never make a good cat burglar, I suppose. But the memory has stayed with me for 35 years.

Mary Witzl said...

I feel so boring! Dimes out of my mother's purse is about it... Though we did find one dog here not long ago that seriously needed liberating...

Vampire books don't really appeal to me, but this excerpt sounds great. I love pretty much anything with well- depicted animals in it...

Pissenlit said...

Jeri - I remember those--the translucent violet/magenta ones? Too pretty to feed to the fishies. Plus they never worked.

The ones I used were a bit translucent and the colour of cola or root beer. They worked pretty well seeing as how we didn't go hungry on those camping trips. Good times. :)

Llehn said...

I've had long hair for years and years but it was getting heavy and was a pain to maintain. Then one day, I chopped it off and it was the most liberating thing I had ever done!

Jacqueline C. said...

I remembered being somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6 when I first liberated something. My mom and I were in a small store of some sort in a local strip mall. She had given me explicit instructions to not ask for anything that I saw there. Of course, the first thing my eyes landed upon once we entered were these amazing multi-colored plastic bangles that I had to have. Having heeded my mother's warning, I didn't ask for them. Instead, I stuffed them in the chest pocket of my Oshkosh B'Gosh overalls. As for what happened next - let's just say my bangles and I did not make it out of the store unscathed.

Shona Snowden said...

So sorry I was not here to close this earlier - work gripped me in its deadly claw for a while.

OK, so the roast is officially over - thank you Jeri, and will you please choose your winner?

Pam P said...

I never seem to work up the nerve to liberate things, always think just my luck to caught. However, my brothers have gotten into some trouble a few times when they were younger and I had to liberate them from behind bars. One time, having to interrupt a date to drive 2 hours to get him out, then 2 hours back. At least my date came along to keep me company.

Jeri said...

Thanks to everyone who commented and shared their stories of sneakiness. It was tough to choose, but Jacqueline's really cracked me up--I loved the way she "obeyed" her mom by taking the bracelets.

So Jacqueline C., congrats! You won a signed copy of Bad to the Bone. Please send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

And thanks to Chris and Shona for hosting me and roasting my book!

Caffey said...

I can remember when others liberated me when I let them borrow a series of my books and strange how they lost them all in the mail...

Lets see, I've been liberated from enjoying a co-workers frozen entree in the freezer since I knew she went out to lunch anyways and I was stuck having to stay since she went out...

Great to hear more about the new one and great roast Jeri!

Sage Ravenwood said...

I liberated a huge mastiff dog. The woman on the top floor of my apartment bldg. went away for a week, leaving her dog tied up on a very short leash on her back porch. The poor pup spilled his water the first day and couldn't reach it's food at all with the short leash. The apt. manager was trying to locate the owner, the animal rescue wanted permission from the landlord before removing the dog. Animal care said it would cost $50 to take it away and rescue it. After listening to the poor dog whine all day (I worked around the corner from where I lived) I went home climbed the back stairs to the porch released the dog and put her in my apt. with food and water. I was sick these people were wagering over a dog's welfare. I refuse to hand over the dog to the authorities until someone gave me physical proof in writing it would not be put down and they would pursue a case against this woman. The debate got pretty heated with the cops threatening to arrest me if I didn't comply. Needless to say I won that round.

And that is my liberation moment. Of course since that day I've rescued dozens of animals and re-homed them. Indigo

Ladytink_534 said...

The only thing I've ever liberated was a bird. A cockatiel actually. My mom's old neighbors kept her outside because honestly they were scared of birds but that didn't stop them from banging on the cage and never feeding or giving it water. Someone in their family was allergic and asked them to keep it for them. I couldn't stand seeing her trying to eat her own poop so I finally just took her home with me. She's a cranky old thing but my mom still has her (didn't want to put her through the climate change and the 6 hour car ride when I moved) nearly 10 years later!