Monday, February 28, 2011

Things I Like

1. This cover. The colors are brilliant. The cracks. The glass as a fence--and you know how I feel about fences...

2. And this cover. The blue and the tree limbs... GORGEOUS yet creepy at the same time.

3. Email. Good thing, because between WriteOnCon and the Bookanistas and planning a trip to NYC in SIX WEEKS, and my inbox is NEVER EMPTY.

4. People. I spent last weekend, and the weekend before that, presenting at symposiums and conferences. It is fabulous to be surrounded by writers, by those seeking to become better writers, by those who inspire.

5. Sleep. I haven't gotten nearly enough, and I'm determined to get a nap today.

What do you like right now?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Set the Alarm! The Liar Society Fans Know No Bounds

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a little weepy over this one. This has been an awesome week.

And I've been teasing you with a contest all week. Well, here's the deets:
1. We'll be giving away 10 (TEN) signed copies of THE LIAR SOCIETY next week. Contest starts Monday, February 28 and goes through Friday, March 4.

2. There are two ways to enter to win: Twitter or blog.

3. Twitter. Use the hashtag #liarsociety and tweet about the book every day next week. We'll be trolling the twitterverse 24/7 (who needs to sleep when you've got THE LIAR SOCIETY??) and will announce a winner each night.

If you pink-hair your twitter profile pic, you'll get an extra entry each day. #PhotoshopFTW

We Love the Liar Society!

4. Blog. Take this button (copy the code in that box up there! Easy!) and put it on your blog. At the top, please. Then fill out the form (linked or below). You've just entered! Blog winners will be announced on Monday, March 7.

Questions? Let me know in the comments. I'm out of town this weekend, so I'll be delayed in getting back to you, but I will!

  • The one I know you'll have: This is a US only contest. Sorry. :( 
  • Another one: There will be two winners each day, but all the blog winners will be announced together on the 7th. Twitter winners, watch the #liarsociety hashtag!
  • Finally: Your copy of THE LIAR SOCIETY will be signed!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Suzanne Young = "Working So Hard" + Guestanista review of THE LIAR SOCIETY

I can't stop laughing at this! My favorite? The jogging scene. You'll see why...

And seriously, you only have a couple more days to get yourself pinked up and ready for this ultra-amazing contest we've got brewing...

Also, I'm turning over my blog to a real, live young adult! Meet Fabiana Fonseca, daughter of Christine Fonseca for a GUESTANISTA review! Fabi's here to give us her take on THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker.

Take it away, Fabi!

Something Awesome about the book:
I really loved the mystery in THE LIAR SOCIETY. It kept me engaged in the book and reading – always a good thing. In fact, I really liked the whole premise of the book. The pacing kept me turning the pages, and the characters were well developed. I really like Kate and how she sort of found herself in the book. She figured out who she was and found her own strength as the storyline developed. I liked that a lot.

Questions I still want answered:
This was definitely one of those books that leaves questions. I mean, dude - who threw the rock??? I never saw the answer to that. I am assuming it is a series – at least, it had better be!!! There just has to be more.

Overall Recommendation:

I LOVED THE LIAR SOCIETY! I can’t wait to read more about Kate! (And BTW, I’ve totally been talking up this book to my friends). Great job Lisa and Laura. I am already planning on reading anything else you guys decide to write.

Fabiana is a bookworm, a math geek, and closet fashionista. She spends her time divided between music, mock trial, sports, designing, and reading. Yep, she has a busy busy life!

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to!
LiLa Roecker is blown away by A Touch Mortal
Shannon Messenger can’t lie about her love for The Liar Society
Shelli Johannes-Wells burns for AngelFire
Scott Tracey is more than a touch impressed with A Touch Mortal
Myra McEntire is A Touch Mortal this week
Beth Revis tells the truth about The Liar Society
Christine Fonseca is leveled by Leverage
Carolina Valdez Miller has tons to say about One
Jessi Kirby soars for Across the Universe
Jen Hayley adores The Liar Society
Shana Silver can’t imagine you not reading Imaginary Girls
Katie Anderson wants to be Like Mandarin
Matt Blackstone loves The Hate List
Stasia Ward Kehoe falls head over heels for Fall for Anything
Sarah Frances Hardy sings her praises for Mockingbird
Veronica Rossi thinks Unearthly is otherworldly
Michelle Hodkin champions A Dog's Way Home

And hey! Click here to join The Bookanista Book Club at The Reading Room where you can check out all the books we're buzzing about!

One more thing: The writing community mourns the loss of one of its own, LK Madigan. Her agent, Jennifer Laughran, says it best.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beth Revis: "Yeah...I Don't Think So"

Seriously, that's my favorite line in this video. Heck, everything about Beth Revis is my favorite. Can you hear "I love a girl who loves her some milk." *cue the laughter*

Are you on Beth's side? Do you have access to a paint program so you can pinkify your hair? You might wanna get on that...

And dude! Make sure you check out an excerpt from Christine Fonseca's new book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids, which comes out on May 1!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shannon Messenger as Kate Lowry's #1 Fan

Seriously, this is my favorite:

I sort of hate Shannon for how awesome this video is. But you know, by "hate" I mean "love."

Isn't she fabulous in her pink wig? Do you have yours yet? You're gonna wanna get on that... Just sayin'.

Also, an author friend of mine with a book called POSSESS coming out in August is revealing her cover today! Ahhh! Go check out Gretchen McNeil's blog for all the deets.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I think this speaks for itself...

Get excited. There's going to be an amazing video of Shannon and her love for THE LIAR SOCIETY tomorrow. And we've got some sweet contest things cooking... Stay tuned so you don't miss out!

And isn't my hair awesome in pink??

And dude, you guys, I spent the weekend at a symposium for science fiction and fantasy. In one word, it was frawesome. I will give you all the deets soon--and a big bloggy welcome to my Utah peeps!

I also spoke to a group of women last week, and my good friend and critique partner, Stacy, has a short recap on her blog. And apparently, I have a guest post about critique groups/partners on Ali Cross's blog today too!

Friday, February 18, 2011

In Which I Become A Fan of Polish Sausage Over Bacon

Believe it. And in order to understand how something like this could happen, let's go inside a day in Elana-land. This you can survive that? Well, let's go for a ride people.

How about a Tuesday? Sure, let's go with an average Tuesday in Elana's life:

Tuesday, February 8:
7:00 AM: Wake up. Sort of. Midnight came too late, and 7 AM comes way too early. This might be 7:10 or 7:16 or something.
*get ready for work, get kids ready for school*
8:30 AM: Leave for school.
9:00 AM: Arrive at work, frantically check to see which typing lesson to do, erase board from last week, write today's assignments, open Firefox, Safari, and Remote Desktop, log in 37 computers, check gmail.
9:20 AM: 4th grade arrives. Begin typing lesson!
*repeat four times*
*check gmail forty thousand times*

11:35 AM: Lunch
*eat while writing a million+one emails*

12:15 PM: 3rd grade arrives. Begin typing lesson! Sooo exciting. The students are thrilled, trust me.
*repeat for a second time*
1:15 PM: Get email from agent
Subject: possession pierogi!!

Now, I have no idea what that means, but exclamation points in an email from your agent are always good.

The news?

POSSESSION sold in Poland!

1:24 PM: See email and freak out. Reply to agent, even though I'm late to switch classes.
1:25 PM: Switch second grade classes.
1:30 PM: Teach typing! My life is so glamorous. You know you're jealous.
1:34 PM: Text husband.
1:35 PM: Freak out.
2:05 PM: Finish teaching for the day.
2:25 PM: Drop off tax papers at the accountant's office.
3:00 PM: Arrive at girl kidlet's school to switch out the home-reading books for her Kindergarten teacher. Yeah, I volunteer at the school once a week.
3:30 PM: Arrive home. Feed girl kidlet. Hound her to change her clothes.
4:00 PM: Take girl kidlet to dance.
4:30 PM: Take boy kidlet to work.
4:40 PM: Arrive home. Alone.
4:41 PM: Freak out.

I could go on with my night, including a few more taxiing moments, and lots of visiting to people in my neighborhood. I finally got home around 8:30 PM, wherein I changed into my pajamas and...
8:45 PM: Watch Chopped.

Ahhh, Tuesday's are good days. Let's all have some of this:

Or these, which are pierogies, in case you didn't know. (I totally didn't.)

Good news? I know people who've gotten their first full request this week! I know people who have signed with agents. Yay! I know people who have had news from publishers. What have you got?

And I just want to give you a visual of what next week is going to be... One word: EPIC.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Working Under Pressure

Okay, so I may have over-scheduled February a little. It feels like I'm being torn into shreds, and each part of my life gets exactly one little ribbon of my attention.

It's not pretty.

And then I decided to NiNoReMo it up. (Don't know what that is? Well, click here.) It was necessary, and I have a looming deadline, so I'm not complaining.

But holy squeeze-every-minute-out-of-my-day cow.

I'd like to think I'm good at working under pressure. It just doesn't feel like it. So I'm looking for ten-minute vacations. Something I can do in my own house. (Does watching The Bachelor count? Because I so did that Monday night.)

What do you do to de-stress when you don't have a lot of time, and can't go anywhere, and have mountains of work to get done?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Standing In The Rain

Okay, so I went to the Salt Lake City stop on the Breathless Tour. It was amazing. First, I was innocently tweeting in the elevator on the way down to the parking garage to drop off my jacket.

The doors opened, and this big group of people were standing there. I go, "I'm totally going to make you wait for me to get off," and stepped right through them. I'm pretty much still checking my phone to see if my tweet went through.

Someone goes, "Elana Johnson?"

And I look up and she goes, "I'm Beth Revis."

*cue the screaming and jumping up and down and hugging and other things I'm really glad no one with a video camera was around to capture*

So I met Beth in this dingy parking garage! It was, in a word, frawesome.

And Andrea Cremer was with her, and I hugged her too. And Kirsten Miller was there, but we didn't hug. And Brenna Yovanoff was there too, and again, no huggage. I think they were both mildly terrified because of all the above screaming and whatnot. They went up; I went to drop off my coat.

Amazing. The event was fabulous times ten. My favorite part was when someone asked if it was hard to get a book published. Beth laughed. Kirsten talked about living in New York and luck, Andrea said you have to get the right book to the right person at the right time, and Brenna said it has to be your best work every time.

But Ally Condie said my favorite thing (which apparently other people have said too. She's just the smartest person I know *wink*). She said that yes, you have to have luck and a good product, but you have to be standing out in the rain so that when the lightning strikes, you'll be there.

Lightning = luck, opportunity, whatever.

And I loved that, because it's so true. You really do have to be out there, getting soaking wet, before the lightning will strike.

What do you think? Are you out in the rain?

And here's some blurry pics I took with my phone.

Oh, and I'm under a strict deadline, and will only be blogging on M/W/F this week. xoxoxoxox until then.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Inside Elana: Fear

All right, I'm pulling out the big guns today. Well, not really, but whatever.

Lydia Kang asked: Okay, writing-wise, what is your biggest fear?

Oh, boy. Where do I even start? There are about a zillion things that I'm afraid of. I live on the precipice of fear most days, seconds away from falling--or jumping.

I think, for me, in this whole writing journey, the ultimate fear is of failing. What if no one buys my book? What if no one likes it? What if all the reviews are bad? What if, what if, what if???

And what's worse than failing?

Failing in front of all of you.

See, I've spent the last two years building a platform for myself. I have a web presence. Which all adds up to one cold, hard fact: I can't quietly fade into the night. If I fail, you're all going to know. Everyone is going to know.

And that's my biggest fear. What about you? Writing-wise, what's your biggest fear?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

BIRTHMARKED by Caragh M. O'Brien

First off, I can't figure out if Birthmarked is one word or two. But holy tattoos, people, it so doesn't matter. You need to read this book.

Description: In the Enclave, your scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future. Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty.

I know, you're hooked already, right? Well, if not, here's why you should be.

1. The writing. Gorgeous, elegant, yet every word is there to advance the story, not trip up the reader in beautiful prose. The vocab Caragh uses is awesome. My favorite? The "unlake." It says SO MUCH in just one word.

2. The plot moves. I mean, it moves. I loved every second of it, from the daring rescue of a baby to the tense walk in all white toward the wall.

3. There's a wall (obviously, from #2). I think you know how I feel about these things, but if not, let me remind you. Walls = fences. I like them both. I like the danger they symbolize. I like the "there's something scary out there." But in BIRTHMARKED, the scary is inside the wall. Which makes it even better.

4. The characters. In one word, brilliant. I loved Gaia, and her strength, and her skill, and her wit. I loved her mother and father. They were painted as real people, even though they're not on-page very much. I liked the love interest, which reminds me how much I loved the subtle romance in this book.

So yeah. If you like dystopian settings/stories with well-crafted characters and brilliant writing, you'll like BIRTHMARKED. Add it to your list, stat.

What have you read that made you stop to catch your breath? 

See what the other Bookanistas are up to!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In Which I Fangirl Shana Silver

Okay, so today, I thought I'd do a little feature on one of the new Bookanistas. Shana Silver is super nice, and she has just about the coolest name ever. So of course I emailed her. I think she might think I'm crazy, but I suppose that's not all bad...

And then I came up with some questions that are a little on the unconventional side, and she didn't even blink! She is that awesome.

1. So your book is like Alice in Wonderland, but not. Explainage.
It's a retelling Alice in Wonderland with every scene reimagined in the real world high school. For example, instead of crying a pool of tears, Alice accidentally floods her school. The Cheshire Cat is a mysterious boy named Chess Katz with a killer smile and a penchant for disappearing. Instead of wanting to get inside the beautiful, forbidden garden the original Alice spies through the tiny key hole, my Alice joins a group of teenage environmental vigilantes who do good things but on the wrong side of the law. It's quirky and humorous with a Veronica Mars-style mystery at its heart. Also, there's kissing, lots of it. (SOLD! Especially with the kissing parts. Seriously, this sounds amazing. Can't wait to read it!)

2. Quick! You've been chosen to go on the best reality TV show EVER, Survivor. What do you take as your luxury item?
As a writer, I probably should say a book, but that would be a lie. I'd take a giant bottle of moisturizing lotion (Jergen's) because I hate dry skin so much and all that sand scares me. Though I probably wouldn't need a giant bottle because let's be real here. I'd be the first one voted off. Lack of arm muscles would ensure that. Also, I have an irrational fear of fish which would make eating or participating in water challenges difficult. However, it would probably make for awesome TV watching me freak out! (LOL! I have an irrational fear of fish too! And ducks and geese...)

3. If you had to eat one food, and only one food, for 24 hours, what would it be? Different preparations are fine, but only one food.
My husband makes the most amazing meatballs and spaghetti. I specifically married him for his cooking skills (also for his last name) so it would be stupid not to utilize them if I was forced to eat the same meal over and over again.

4. Longest day ever? Spill.
December 21st, without fail, every year. (I inherited my cheesy joke sense from my dad. Thanks, Dad!)

But really, probably the day I wrote a 5-page love letter to my crush in high school and waited for his answer. Which turned out to be no. I didn't let it get me down though, I tried again with the next crush. Same result. You'd think I had learned my lesson but no, because the real problem was an efficient school system. I blame this on My So-Called Life. Angela had written Jordan a love letter and it worked for her, but only because Jordan hadn't been able to read it. If only my crushes couldn't read, it would have totally worked! (Oh my heck. This is the best story ever.)

5. If you went to a superhero costume designer, would go with a cape or no cape? Give reasons to support your answer.
I think we all know why the cape is really there, right? It's not a fashion statement or because it looks cool flapping in the wind. It's there because spandex doesn't do a very good job at keeping a Superhero warm. So the cape's there to act like a jacket but not as bulky and it doesn't obstruct the logo on their chests. They wrap it around their arms to prevent goosebumps. They shield themselves from the rain like a hood. So of course I'd design a cape into my outfit, I'm practically cold-blooded. (Brilliant. And I've been properly persuaded to include a cape on all my superhero costumes now, notwithstanding the whole no-cape rule on The Incredibles.)

6. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? What's the first step you took toward publication?
I've been writing my whole life. I wrote and illustrated my first book when I was in elementary school. It was about a girl who could walk through lava, which let me tell you, was VERY useful in volcano-less NJ where the story was set. At 17, I wrote my first manuscript. It was 75k of existential musings. There were only two characters, neither of them had names, and they only shared maybe 4 scenes together. Needless to say, that one's sitting in a drawer. My mom loves it, so that should tell you how good it really is. At the very least, it taught me that I *could* write a novel.

Then I went to college where I took actual creative writing classes taught by some very famous authors (like Pulitzer Prize winning authors), though at the time I had no idea who they were. I honed my skills and wrote a bunch of short stories for my classes. So I guess this is my first step toward publication because I started sending them out to lit magazines and I sold every single one I wrote for class.

But as far as novels go, I've queried 3 novels. One was college-set and though I had a high request rate, I kept getting rejections that said, "I really love this but it's too edgy for YA, too juvenile for adult." And since it was about the dark side of a sorority, it was impossible to re-set in high school. So I wrote another book that was completely YA about sibling rivalry that goes too far when one girl causes her sister to lose her prestigious college dance scholarship and then has to fix it before their parents find out. I had a 100% request rate on the query and got an agent within 10 days. I had some VERY close calls while on submission. Eventually that book didn't sell and my former agent left the industry, leaving me agentless. It was okay though, I saw this as a good thing and in hindsight, I'm really happy this happened. I wrote a new book (ALICE), using all the feedback I'd received from editors so I didn't make the same mistake again (i.e. this one had to be HIGH CONCEPT). I actually had to start it 3 times from scratch until I found the perfect retelling angle. I sent out queries, this time I had a 95% request rate. 2 R&Rs and 2 offers later, I found the absolute perfect agent for me. I adore her so much, she's the perfect champion for my books and she gives amazing editorial suggestions. Also, she loves Buffy as much as me.

7. Give us the basics: blog, website, twitter, facebook, agent, eye color, shoe size, dream vacation locale.

  • Blog/Website:
  • Twitter:
  • Facebook:
  • Agent: Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown, Ltd.
  • Eye color: Brown, though I like to pretend there's a recessive blue-eyed gene in there somewhere that I will hopefully give to my kids (when I have some)
  • Shoe size: 5.5! I usually have to buy a 6 though because my feet are freakishly tiny.
  • Dream vacation locale: Hubs and I have been talking about doing a wine tour in France for a long time. 

(Okay, go stalk away people. You know you want to.)

8. Bacon or chocolate? (I couldn't help myself.)
Chocolate for sure! This is going to be weird, I know. I've never actually eaten bacon. I'm a very picky eater. I also don't like cheese. Cue the gasps! (*gasp!* I love cheese. And the correct answer here is BACON.)

9. Anything else we simply must know?
I think I have a pretty cool day job. I do computer animation for television. If you've ever watched football or basketball on CBS, I designed most of the in-game graphics (like the scoreboard). I was the lead designer on March Madness, so whenever you see the brackets on TV, I created those. I also designed graphics for the USA Network (like when it tells you what show is coming on next) and the truTV network. If you've recently seen commercials for WORST COOKS IN AMERICA (on the Food Network), I did that entire campaign. I also did a lot of work on some CG Barbie movies. (This is the COOLEST THING EVER. I love Worst Cooks in America and my husband watches more sports than anyone in the world, trust me. This is SO COOL!)

Thanks for stopping by, Shana. And isn't she cool?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tell Me What You Know re: Pitching

Okay, I'm totally using you. Help a sister out. So I'm presenting on pitching to agents and editors. I'd love to go in with some real-life war stories. Which means I need you to tell me yours.

Or, if you haven't pitched to an agent or an editor at a conference, point me to some blog posts that blew your mind.

I want to do a good job, and I need to expand outside myself.

So pitching to agents and editors. Stories, blog posts, experiences, advice. Anything is welcome.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Remember...Someone Remind Me in Four Months

Okay, so whenever something "big" happens with my book, my husband sends out an email to all our family and friends. I like this for two reasons: 1. I don't feel like I'm bragging, and 2. He always says things better than I ever could.

He always sends me a copy of the email too, and then just tells me about the responses people send back. So the latest email went out, and it included some lines that really made me remember. And remember something important.

Here's what he said: Every day she gets more nervous, and more excited. I keep telling her that the goal was to see it on the shelf. Anything else is just gravy. I remind her about that year where we went to the bookstore almost every week to look at the place where her books would be on the shelf in the young adult section if they ever got published. Her dream was to see it there. No matter what happens, her dream is coming true.

And now I'm bawling. At work. I am such a baby.

But anyway, I had forgotten that. I'd forgotten that we used to drive to the bookstore and just stroke spines and finger covers and breathe in the smell of books and wander the aisles and dream about being in the J's of the YA section.

I remember now.

And I hope some of you will remind me of this as I only have FOUR MORE MONTHS before Possession comes out. And it's scary and exciting and overwhelming and I'm sure to forget the weekend trips to the bookstore.

Because it's so easy to get caught up in querying, selling, writing, blogging, twittering, emailing, dancing, reading, living.

What do you need to slow down and remember? I hope you'll do it. But don't cry...I can't have that on my conscience.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Inside Elana: This and That

Hey, I warned you that my blog is just a mish-mash of this and that. You thought I was kidding, didn't you? Ha! Never.

A couple of months ago, I opened up the blog for questions. And, uh, well, I never finished answering them. Here we go.

Stina Lindenblatt asked: Are you going to LA SCBWI conference? Uh...maybe? Yeah, maybe. I'm lame like that. I am planning to go to ALA in New Orleans though, and Comic Con in San Diego.

Jill Kemerer and Alex Cavanaugh asked a variation of these two questions: Do you write more than one genre? and/or Besides YA, what other genres do you like? I write under the YA umbrella, but I sort of oscillate all over. Dystopian (obviously). Contemporary. Paranormal. Fantasy. Even a historical thingy. (Yes, that's the technical term.) But all YA.

And hold the phone. There are other genres besides YA? *wink* I suppose if held at knife point and forced to name another genre I enjoy, I would go with...oh, freak, I can't do it. It's YA or nothing. Sorry, I am shallow like that.

Sara B. Larson asked: If you only had one week to live, what would you do and who with? I would travel somewhere exotic, like the White Cliffs of Dover or the beach or something as long as I don't have to clean up after myself or make any meals. And I'd take my family, and we'd spend all our time watching movies and ordering whatever we wanted to eat and just laughing.

Wendy Paine Miller asked: Do you believe all writers are just a wee bit crazy? Definitely.

Marsha Sigman wanted to know about how many submissions I sent out while querying for POSSESSION. Over 50. Then she wanted to know how I kept from getting discouraged from all the rejection. Uh...I didn't. I get discouraged all the time, even now. There are a couple of posts I wrote for other people that I like a lot. One here at Sara's blog, and one at Adventure's in Children's Publishing.

Jodi Henry wanted to read the query letter that got me my agent. It's not a secret. You can read it in many places, but one of the best is on Matt's blog.

There are still a few questions, some of which have spurred entire posts over the next couple of weeks. If I haven't gotten to yours, never fear! And if you have a question for me, lay it out in the comments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver

Okay, so up today on this shiny Bookanista Thursday, I present Delirium by Laruen Oliver.

Here's the blurb: Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

So basically Oliver has stolen the show with this amazing idea. Love can be surgically removed from your brain. And if you fall in love? Well, you're obviously infected with delirium.

Score one for her. I sort of hate her for this amazing concept (that was totally written in my sarcastic font. I don't hate Lauren Oliver at all. In fact, all the "hate" in this post is really "love"). See, my book is also a dystopian with a completely changed society. Sure, there's no overt signs of brainwashing here (like there is in my book), but it's clear that it's been done over time, through lessons and school and whatnot.

So yeah. Gorgeous dystopian setting = a small iota of hate.

And I wish that was all I hated her for. But no! She has to go and top this fabulous idea with superb writing. It's got that kind of literary bent to it that I l-o-v-e and strive for in my own writing, but it's also a very commercial style.

Which is just brilliant. Dangitall.

As if a mind-blowing concept and fexcellent writing weren't enough, she actually wrote an ending in the way that I deeply admire. I won't spill it all for you, because that would just be rude, but when (when, not if) you read Delirium, you'll know what kind of endings I like.

Oliver: 3.
Me: 0.

In addition to all that, there is also a fence. Now this isn't significant by itself, but I love fences. I love what they symbolize. A barrier. Something bad out there. I like thinking about the fences in my own life. Physical ones, and then social things also. The whole concept of a fence is fascinating to me, in many ways. (I've never been this deep on a Bookanista post before. I know I'm shocked too.)

One last thing that I really liked about this book is the abandoned house the characters sneak off to. I don't know why, but I just really like abandoned houses and the possibilities that can come from them. Or maybe it was the sneaking I liked... Or the boy the sneaking happened with...

Who knows? All I know is that Delirium was a fabulous read. I do sort of hate Lauren Oliver because she is just so brilliant.

So, there you go. What books have you read lately that you've started adding up the "hate points" because they're just so good?

Go check out what the other Bookanistas are talking about today:
LiLa Roecker falls for Between Shades of Grey
Christine Fonseca soars Across the Universe
Shannon Messenger is hosting an epic Invasion giveaway
Shelli Johannes Wells is giving some Liar Society lovin'
Myra McEntire is spreading some cover love for Siren and Undercurrent
Beth Revis is thanking her fellow Bookanistas
Carolina Valdez Miller swoons for Scrawl
Megan Miranda falls for Dark Goddess
Bethany Wiggins is Entice(d)
Jen Hayley and Shana Silver ignite for Angelfire
Matt Blackstone convinces us That Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
Carrie Harris marvels over The Mockingbirds

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Start Late, Finish Early

Now, you know I don't run unless there are very large dogs chasing me. You know my writing journey didn't start late, and didn't finish early.

So what could I possibly be blogging about today?

Writing. That's right. Believe it. I know my blog is a mish-mash of this and that, my violent mood swings, book reviews, whatever whatever. But occasionally, I throw in a writing post.

Today you're getting "occasionally."

I thought I'd blog about writing a scene. Over the past couple of years, I feel like I've grown a lot as a writer. One of the things I've especially learned about is pacing. A large part of pacing is when you enter a scene and when you exit it.

I so wish I could take credit for learning this on my own. Or from my agent or editor. But nope. I'm crediting INCEPTION.

Remember how Leo says that when you're dreaming, you can't remember how the dream started? You're just simply in it already?

I applied that to writing. With each scene, I want to enter as late as possible. Of course, I still need to set the scene (which I'm still working on. Or rather, my CP's are still hounding me about), and build character and all that jazz.

But in order to keep the pacing, I need to enter the dream already in it. This doesn't necessarily mean shootings and wild horses trampling the MC. But maybe I start the scene with the MC already in the park, instead of walking there or getting ready at their house.

Start as late as possible.

On the other end, end as soon as possible. Use the words needed to build tension, advance plot, define character, evoke emotion. And then STOP.

I'm still working on the stops (heck, I'm still working on everything), but at least now I know I need to work them.

What's one thing you've learned over the past year that has made you a better writer?

Oh! And if you want to win a query critique from me, check out Aime Borst's blog today. Go check it out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday: I Was Done

Okay, so wow. I feel like we should just bask in yesterday's awesomeness. I read every single comment, and who knew the crowd outside was so big?

I *heart* you all, into tiny bits and pieces. Thank you.

Okay, sappy stuff over. So I seriously spent the weekend off-line. It was one of the best weekends of my life. I read a book. I watched like, four movies. I did a whole bunch of stuff that's been sitting on the back burner for a while.

I felt productive, people!

I think I was just done. Like stick-a-fork-in-me done. I feel better now. Rejuvenated or something. Ready for the month of February to kick me to the curb and back. Bring it on February. Bring. It. On.

How are you feeling? Are you done? Just gearing up? Ready for the shortest month of the year to blow by you?

Oh, and the winner of The Lost Saint book and nail polish is Kelly Bryson! Sorry I forgot to do it yesterday. Email me, Kelly, so I can get your addy! (elanajohnson(at)

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