Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm baaack! With a guest of a guest, no less

Hey, everyone! I'm Jeri Smith-Ready, your debut victim author guest blogger last year. I hung out with you for three days and developed such a case of Stockholm Syndrome had such a blast that I begged Tracy to let me come back.

I figured y'all might get a leeetle suspicious and deja vu-ey, though, if I just copied and pasted my posts from last year. So I racked my brain using a rigorous workout of chocolate-covered espresso beans jumping jacks to come up with something fresh and fun.

Tomorrow I will still do a hero's post, on the brand-new Boy (pictured here on the cover) in my upcoming release, Bad to the Bone (release date May 19) sequel to Wicked Game and second in my WVMP Radio series. And the real hero, Shane McAllister, whom I detailed deliciously last year, might stop to chat as well.

But for today, instead of the standard About Me introduction (which you can read, if you're so inclined, by clicking on that link), I decided to try something new, something different. Something a little less, oh, what's the word...WORK.

See, I have a deadline this Friday. If I don't get a rough draft of my next book to my critique partners by then, they will march up to my house with torches. And then I will definitely not make my June 1 editor deadline, because I'll be too busy calling the insurance company and police.

If I learned one thing from Corporate Life in America, it's that when you have too many tasks on your plate...delegate! So for today, I will let you be entertained by my very own real-life hero, Christian Ready. Feel free to ask him any questions about me, or questions about anything at all. He's used to that, as you'll see.

Everyone who comments on today's or tomorrow's posts will be put in a drawing to win signed copies of both Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone (if you already have Wicked Game, you can substitute one of my other books). I'll pull a random name at 11:59pm Eastern time Tuesday night, May 5. International entries welcome. Good luck!


Hello People Who Like to Read,

My name is Jeri Smith-Ready's Husband. Some call me Chris. As you are probably already aware, Jeri writes. A lot. That's a good thing because it makes her happy, except for when she’s cranky because she has a deadline. Jeri has a deadline for this coming Friday. I love my wife very much and I hate to see her unhappy, mostly because I work from home.

So I offered to write her guest blog for her so she wouldn’t have to take time away from her deadline without feeling guilty for not honoring her guest-blog commitment. I thought my offer alone would remind her of what a loving, devoted husband she has, and that in the grand scheme of things a deadline and guest-blog conflict pale in comparison to what’s really important in life – love, happiness, and a partner to share that with.

Instead she called my bluff.

Jeri thought it might be a nice change of pace if I offered my perspective on what it’s like to be married to a full-time writer; a sort of meta-perspective on what she does. I hope that you will find this interesting and insightful, and that I won’t have to sleep on the couch. Here goes.

Jeri works harder at her job than anyone else I know works at theirs (especially me.) The downside is that she’s always working. I know she cannot help it, partly because there is always a looming deadline, but also because creativity is not something you can stop at 5:00 PM and expect to resume the following morning.

That said, she’s very good about stopping to make dinner or feed our dog and cat. But this also means that Jeri has to stick to a tight schedule in order to make deadlines. Over the years, I have learned how to tactfully tell friends that we cannot meet for dinner because Jeri has a deadline. In four months.

Taking road trips with Jeri is always a pleasure, because she lets me listen to the Grateful Dead channel on Sirius XM radio. I’m a lifelong Deadhead. Jeri hates them. But she does this because she knows that I am driving and wants me to be happy in our travels wants to write scenes out in her notebook and the Dead's music is just boring enough to her to allow her to think. And yet there she is, as beautiful as the day we were married, glancing out the window as the landscape passes us by. Our conversations while traveling often go like this:

ME: "What are you looking at, honey?"

JERI: "Shut up, I'm thinking!"

But perhaps the most unusual part for me is the questions I have been spontaneously asked over the years. You see, when Jeri writes, she thinks about a lot of things, but isn't always sure of some of the specifics. Of course, she could go to Wikipedia or Google for answers, but that would involve getting on the internet and wasting important writing time. So she'll ask me, often while hollering from the other room. Here are some actual questions I have been asked:

"Hey hon, what's larger, a Regiment or a Battalion?"

"How far is it to the Moon?"

"If you decapitated someone while standing behind their right shoulder, would the head roll to the right or to the left?"

What am I, the Great Kreskin?

But you know what? I wouldn't trade any of this for all of the tea in China.

I hope this gave you a little glimpse into life with a writer. Or at least, my life with Jeri. It's now time to retire for a nice quiet evening of the sound of her laptop's keyboard clicking away in a distant corner of the house.


Isn't he the cutest thing? *swoon*

Feel free to ask me or Chris questions about what it's like to be or live with a writer (I won't even edit his answers. Much.) Or heck, you can even comment on my Favorites post from last year (just be sure to comment here, not there, so I'll see it and enter you to win). I'm easy.

Have a great day, and thanks for having me back on the island!


Pia Veleno said...

Thanks for sharing him Jeri!

In our car it's similar:

Him: "What are you thinking about?"
Me: "Um nothing."

...Because if I tried to explain I'd derail the train of creative thought. lol

Carrie Clevenger said...

Teehee! My conversations with the husband go like:

Me:"Would it be possible to have a Jacuzzi on an airplane?"

Husband: "Well that depends, what make of aircraft, and what altitude is it flying? Wait a minute, nooo you can't do that the g-positve forces would slosh the water all over the place!"

Is it better for them to actually have an answer? Heh.

Or me asking him:

Me: "Whatcha thinking about?"

Husband: "I was trying to think how many headspaces it would take to make a ceiling in that game level to assure that double-jumping is still possible."

Me: "..."
"I love you."


LesleyW said...

Yeah I identify with the 'using the car journey to sort out plot problems'. I don't know what it is about driving that lets you get into the headspace where your story just suddenly starts working.

Jeri said...

Hi everyone! (It's me, not Chris.) Yes, there's definitely something about car trips that is conducive to thinking. I first had the idea for two of my books (including the WVMP series) in a car, and I can remember the exact road I was on when they hit me.

Of course, I was alone at the time. ;-) Something about being around another non-stranger human being makes it harder to entertain the characters in my head. Like there's only room for so many at once.

Hee. My validation word is "nomsoccr". I never thought of the sport as being particularly tasty.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Bluff definitely called! That is why you never bluff with a writer!

I would have to ask if having a sense of humor is a requirement to be married to the writer (especially with questions dealing with cutting of heads and such)? Loved the insight on the other half's life while married to a writer. Does he help a lot on research for the books? Look it up on the internet or bring out the test dummy to decapitate to see which side the head falls? I wouldn't be surprised after seeing the blog he did here. >;)

Wishing you the both the VERY best!

Carolyn Crane said...

Hey, what a fun entry, and what a great husband you are to do this.

Nice to see you both share a love for music and can (sort of) agree on a station, even if it's one that plays the SAME EXACT BAND over and over!

Good luck with the ms, Jeri.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Jeri, I just wanted to thank you for allowing your husband to give a glimpse of what it's like to live with a writer. Being a writer myself, I know what it's like to BE a writer, but not what it's like to LIVE with one. Now I know what my girls feel like! And how crazy I must drive them when they have a question/request and I tell them: "Wait a minute, I'm right in the middle of a sentence." Of course with me, that sentence could very well develop into a paragraph when I'm in the flow and I hate to be interrupted.

Jeri said...

Shar, I think Chris did look on the internet for decapitation videos, something that definitely would have made me pass out.

Carolyn, I love satellite radio, but yeah, I don't get why certain bands (and never MY favorites) get whole stations to themselves. I went on a rampage when Sirius changed the punk station to all ACDC all the time. Nothing against that band, but, huh? How many albums do they even have?

Chris said...

Well, of course I like his name. ;)

My question for Chris is - has Google made it easier to be the husband of a writer when asked those challenging questions?

Jeri said...

Margay: I know, even the most brief interruption can totally derail a thought process. OTOH, they're worth it! They provide good material, at least. ;-)

Margay Leah Justice said...

Yeah, that's another thing. My younger daughter has Asperger's and one of the hallmarks of it is that they tend to see everything in very visual terms. As a consequence, she uses some pretty creative phrases that I think will make great titles for books. On more than one occasion, she's been known to say, "Mom, stop turning everything I say into a book title!"

christianready said...

@Chris, sure Google helps but often it depends on the context of the question. If I happen to know the answer, I'll let her know. But sometimes the questions go beyond what Google or Wikipedia can answer. For example, she once asked me about how to conduct an extraction of a prisoner from a guarded prison camp. Suffice to say, that was above my pay grade, so I put her in touch with my Wing Commander, who is a retired US Army Batallion commander & field instructor. He walked her through everything.

Brooke Reviews said...

lol I loved this blog! "Shut up, I'm thinking!" had me cracking up! Also, if someone asked me which way that head would roll I'd say to the right. :P

Great post Chris! Jeri you are a very lucky woman!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the blog. Working out scenes while someone else drives sounds like a great excuse to delegate.

Sara M said...

Very interesting post. I've always wondered how deadlines affected those around the writer since I'm just beginning the plotting stage of an idea I got.

I wish I could read or write in the car. I get motion sickness if I do anything more than stare out the window or listen to music.

donnas said...

Great post. Chris, thanks for sharing what its like to live with a writer.

So, inquiring minds want to know, what is the answer when you decapitate someone. Does it roll to the right or the left?

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Lea said...

What an awesome post. It is so nice that your husband contributed and such fun!

I've heard nothing but wonderful things about your books.


Tracy said...

Jeri - you are so funny...and damned sneaky getting your hubby to fill in for you. I have the utmost respect for your imaginative maneuverings. :)

Chris - thank you for your post - very cute. You've got yourself a handful there but you're handing it admirably. Can't say I wouldn't do a double take if my hubby asked me about the whole decapitation thing. :)

Jeri said...

Brooke: I definitely know how lucky I am. ;-)

driftsmoke: The funny thing is, I think better when I'm the one who's driving.

Sara: I'm the same way with motion sickness. Either I just jot down a few notes, or, if I have my laptop, I just touch-type and go back later and clean up all the typos, so I'm not looking at the screen while the car is moving.

Donna: I don't honestly remember which way we decided the head rolled. I think it rolled the way I needed it to roll for the scene. ;-) But at least I knew it was possible.

Lea: Thank you! I hope you get a chance to check them out. :-)

Tracy: Thanks so much for having me back to the island!

JenB said...

Aww, what a sweet hubby you have. I have similar conversations with my husband when I'm reading and editing. And I'm forever asking him history questions, which he LOVES (not).

Unfortunately, I can't think in the car. I'm always too busy watching the road. I'm a nervous passenger and my husband is a crazy driver, soooo...yeah, our car trips are a blast.

Sounds like y'all have a lot of fun. :)

Shaymless Aymless said...

Great post guys! Totally love it.

Chris had me in giggle right after the "I hate to see her unhappy, mostly because I work from home" right up to the end!


Pamk said...

rofl He sounds like a keeper and he definitely had be me entertained. He lived up to the challenge.

Lori T said...

Hi Chris and Jeri~
What a great way to start the week. How wonderful of you to fill in for, that she can work on meeting that deadline...something that we all want.

I loved the car trip story. Our car trip conversations usually involve what are you reading now and when is it your turn to drive.

I am really looking forward to the release of Bad to the Bone!

Leslie said...

Hello Chris and Jeri ~

Loved the post. I was wondering if Chris ever comes up with any ideas for the books. Say you're stuck - do you bounce ideas off Chris and has he ever offered up a solution that made it into a book?

Kinochi said...

Jeri - Do you prefer to write out your stories with pen and paper or do you prefer the computer? If you prefer the computer, do you use Word or some other application?

Shout out to your hubby! Sounds like a great guy!

Take care,


GingerCat said...

When I was in college, several of us went up to the observatory, where an astronomy TA showed us Saturn through a telescope. Considering that TA was your husband, I think asking him how far it is to the moon is a perfectly reasonable question. :)

Jeri said...

JenB: Oh no! I try not to think about the deadliness of driving when I'm a passenger. I have one of those imaginations that takes everything to its tragic extremes.

Aymless: Isn't he great? A sense of humor is so important in a guy, and absolutely necessary for someone living with an author. ;-)

Pamk: A keeper for sure. Even on a Desert Island. :-)

Lori: LOL, our conversations would be pretty short if we talked about reading, unless it was news articles. Chris mostly reads biographies and computer books, and I read fiction. I think my novels are the only ones he reads (and hey, I don't mind talking about them ;-).

Leslie: I'm sure the answer is yes, but I can't think of a specific example. Usually I try to protect him from any and all spoilers, because he tends to read the books in their finished form. But if I am really stuck, I talk it out with him in very general terms.

Jeri said...

Kinochi/Lisa: I usually use the computer (Word), but when I'm out and about, like standing in line at the PO, I always have my little notebook that I jot ideas or even whole scenes in. For some reason, large notebooks don't work well for me (the giant page with all those lines = scary), but the mini ones are good.

GingerCat: Wow! Now I'm really curious as to who you are. Oh, and Chris wants to know if you thought that TA was cute. ;-)

Sharon said...

Jeri & Chris - thanks for the insight into living with a writer; sounds like you've got it down!

I'd like to know if Chris tends to wait until your books are finished because he wants to or because you won't let him read them until they're done? I can't wait to read BTTB and I'm the type that can't wait until next book is anytime you want a mid-story critique please feel free to let me know! :D

Amy said...

Oh, my hubby has so much to look forward to.:)

Bridget Locke said...

I have to say that was one of the best blog entries ever!! :D

I do that too. I'll be staring off in space thinking and snap at people for invading my thinking space. :)

Haven't read any of your books (I'm evil...I'm sorry), so would love to read your books! I keep meaning to pick up your books, but every time I'm at the bookstore I have to rush through. Evil carpool buddy. He doesn't understand the meaning of the word browsing! :D

Don said...

Being married to an artist (silversmith) I know exactly how you feel, except instead of the clacking of a computer I get the roar of motors and the clanging of hammers on metal. Still its all worth it.

Jeri said...

Sharon: It's some of both. He likes to read them in book form (or an ARC) rather than read pages of a manuscript, and I like him to see the finished, (nearly) perfect product. Because I want to impress him. ;-) Generally no one at all reads any portion of the books until the second draft, which is what I give to my editor, agent, and critiquers. Up to that point it's just an incoherent mess.

Amy: I hope he has a sense of humor (oh, and patience ;-).

Bridget: Why, thank you! Ironic considering how panicky I was Sunday night trying to figure out what to write. This is such a fun bunch here, I wanted to do something worthy. :-)

Don: I can see how that could be soothing background noise, too. :-)

christianready said...

@donnas, By my reasoning, if you're standing over the right shoulder, the head should roll to the left.

@Sharon, I tend to wait until it's pretty much finished. Earlier in Jeri's career, I read drafts, but I am a slow reader, regardless of the subject. Since Jeri typically needs timely feedback from people who know how write and critique writing far better than I do, I now wait until the final draft/ARC is available.

HockeyVampiress said...

Chris you and unlike most males I know have got it under control and I thank you for driving so Jeri can concentrate.......I live with a man who constantly says I hate driving everytime he gets behind the wheel just because I happen to be reading...
Thanks too for guest blogging so Jeri can meet her deadline. I love her work and can't wait for another new series.

Amy said...

Sounds like you are both lucky to have each other.

I have a good friend who is an (NY Times best selling!) author. I've visited his home when he's on deadline, and during edits, and I agree: authors work tremendously hard and the creative process doesn't punch a timeclock. I don't know if I would have the patience to live with an author full-time. Kudos to those that do.

Rob S. said...

I don't believe Chris exists. You're totally making him up.

(Nice job, man.)

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