Friday, June 29, 2012

Secrets, I Haz Them

Okay, so today is the Transcend (by Christine Fonseca) masquerade blogfest, and Christine's asked us to reveal a secret. You can sign up for the blogfest here

And she's going to be revealing her cover for TRANSCEND, which is coming out this fall. In fact, you can see the cover below!

She's also giving away an unbound galley of TRANSCEND with author notes, a signed hardcover, and swag. Be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter widget below.

But first, my secret. You know you want to know it... And today I'm revealing an irrational fear. Sure, I've confessed to a few before. Dogs--and all animals that have more legs than I do, as well as ducks and geese. 

Today's irrational fear is the fear of non-enclosed motorized vehicles. You know, jet skis, snowmobiles, four wheelers, motorized scooters, horses. Not a fan. 

In fact, they terrify me. It may or may not have something to do with the house I crashed into while driving a snowmobile as a teen. 

What can I say? I just like being enclosed in my modes of transportation. I'm cool with cars and trucks and stuff. 

So there you go! Not like, a juicy secret, but something you might not know about me.

And now, the cover of TRANSCEND!!

A little bit about TRANSCEND: All seventeen-year-old composer Ien Montgomery desires is an escape from his family's rigid expectations for his life; someone to inspire his music. When he meets a beautiful violin-prodigy, Kiera McDougal, his life music takes on new life. With her, he imagines a future outside of his parents’ control. That is, until a horrible accident tears them apart.

Sent to die in a sanatorium, Ien’s obsession for Kiera grows unbearable. Tortured by thoughts he can’t escape and the truth of his monstrous disfigurement, he flees, desperate to exact revenge on the people that ruined his life – his parents. But vengeance is empty. Betrayed by those closest to him, Ien discovers that the price for his happiness may be his sanity.

Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you get to the SURRENDER tour stops today too! It's the last day to enter to win! Today, I am revealing some super-scary things for me. What secrets do you have? Irrational fears? Spill...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

PERCEPTION by Kim Harrington

Okay, one of my favorite books of 2011 was CLARITY by Kim Harrington. I love the sleuth girl novels, what can I say? (You've read THE LIAR SOCIETY, right?)

So PERCEPTION came out a few months ago, and of course, I called Kim's independent bookstore where she was signing to get a signed copy. Then I proceeded to devour it. Before I tell you all the Things, let's learn a bit more about it.

About PERCEPTION: When you can see things others can't, what happens when someone is watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only, Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared. Clare needs to see her way to the truth -- before it's much too late.

Now, I'll be the first to say that sometimes second books are stale retellings of the first book. You know you've read some that made you go, "That was exactly like the first book."

But PERCEPTION is not one of those books. Yes, it's still set in this amazing beach town, but now all the tourists are gone. Yes, there's still a mystery to solve, but this one has higher stakes, and hits much closer to home for main character Clare. Yes, the characterization and pacing are still brilliant.

But the plot is entirely new, and there are things we learn about Clare that we didn't know before. She's deeper in a way the second book should make a character deeper. She takes what she learned from her detective-ing (it's a word) in CLARITY and uses it in PERCEPTION.

And there are some creeptastic moments when Clare thinks she's being watched, and when she starts getting gifts from her secret admirer? I went from "It's her!" to "Oh, man, maybe it's him!" to "It's definitely this other girl."

Like I said, brilliant. (And there's kissing. You know I like that.)

Have you read any great mysteries lately? Do tell.

Be sure to check out today's SURRENDER blog tour stops:

And be sure to check out the other Bookanista reviews today:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Self-Publishing, Traditional Publishing, Small Press Publishing, Oh My!!

So there seems to be many, many options for publishing these days. You can take your novel and publish it in several places online (and in print). Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Wattpad.

The possibilities are enough to make your head spin. And it seems that some of the authors who have done this, have done and are doing very well. There are several very alluring things about the self-publishing prospect. More control over covers. Ultimate control over the price point (my biggest complaint in ebook traditional publishing). Multiple releases within a year. Yes, there are many aspects of self-publishing that call to me in the silence of night, but there are several things that also terrify me into paralysis.

Enter the small press. I've seen several of these cropping up over the past year or so, and many more authors going this route to achieve publication. Again, there is much to be admired. A small team of people helping to edit the book, design the cover, aid in marketing and distribution, though they usually don't have the budget of the bigger, traditional houses. I've heard authors talk of their small presses as "family." I will say that the model of a small press also appeals to me.

Then we hit the traditional publishers, which also range in size from smaller (Flux and Sourcebooks Fire, for example) to larger (Scholastic and Random House). They have multiple imprints, and armies of editors, publicists, marketing managers, sales teams, vice-presidents, and library-education personnel. They have a wider distribution, the power to market your book to the masses, and teams of people to ensure the quality of your work from line level to cover copy to design. But you get virtually no say in the cover design or the price point of your novel, and sometimes you get ignored completely in the marketing arena. You know, little fish in a big pond type of thing.

My point is this: Every option for publishing has it's pros and cons. Every author has his or her reasons for choosing the path they're on. We do not need to stand on our chosen path and point fingers, or gossip, or chuckle (or glare or throw Coke cans) at authors on another path. Each person has a backstory, just like each character we write.

You don't know what an author has done, how many books they've written, how many rejections they've endured, how many edits they've completed. You don't know what, exactly, drove them to their path. And I'm going to be bold and say I don't care.

I don't care if you're self-published, or small press published, or traditionally published. I don't care if you have an agent or not. I just don't care. If you write and produce a book that looks and sounds like something I'll like, I'll probably buy it.

And if you write and produce a book that I read and like, I'll talk about it. Self-published, small press published, or traditionally published. I just don't care.

The bottom line is this: Books should be written and produced as professionally as possible, whether you're doing it yourself, with a small team, or within a large conglomerate.

And we should all be supporting one another no matter which path we're on, because I daresay we're all on the same path. The one that has a book readers can buy, read, and leave a review for at the end of it.

Feel free to disagree, but try to be nice about it, okay? Okay. And...go!

Oh, and make sure you stop by today's SURRENDER blog tour. And you can enter to win your choice of an e-book this week by visiting the stops and leaving comments. So do that!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Make Mistakes Boldly

I made this as part of my keynote for last week.

I think it's something we can definitely apply to writing. Because you have a delete key, right? Anything that you've done that isn't right, or doesn't fit, or isn't working, you can fix. You can change it. Delete it.

I wish there were a few things about life that would be as easy to fix as highlighting some text and pressing one key. So don't be afraid!

Today, I say make mistakes boldly in your writing. I believe that you'll never get anywhere worth getting if you play it safe, especially in novel-writing.

Can you do it? Can you go forth today and make mistakes boldly?

Be sure to stop by today's SURRENDER blog tour stop:

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Dare You To Tell Me I Can't

Okay, so I wrote that line into a keynote address I gave over the weekend. I talked about working through hard things in life--and writing--and how we can become better authors as well as people by doing so.

This line came near the end, when I was talking about how a lot of things in life (athletics, band, writing) don't seem to have any pay-off until the end. You spend hours on the field or in the pool, hours with the clarinet in your mouth or your fingers on the keys, hours at the computer or with pen and paper in hand.

And there's still no reward. The practice is not rewarding. It's just hard.

But that the final result is the payoff we're looking for. The band concert. The swim meet. The published book. Sometimes it's easy to get lost among the trees in the forest. Very easy.

I talked about Michael Phelps a lot. I showed them this picture:

And I said, "This is the kind of face you need to have. The one that says, "I dare you to tell me I can't.""

Have you got your game face on? Is it hard to practice when you don't see the payoff as immediately as you'd like?

Be sure to visit today's SURRENDER blog tour stops! This week you can win your choice of an e-book.

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Friday, June 22, 2012


Okay, so I realize this week might be bordering on wow, what's wrong with Elana? Ha! I swear I don't mean it to be. I chose some emotions/states of being and have been writing to them.

Today's is love. If you've been hanging around the blog for any length of time, you know I like books with romance in them. Sometimes it's all about re-kindling or uncovering the love we have for people or things.

And the simple truth is I love writing. Oh yes, I've contemplated quitting. But I was having a conversation last weekend with someone, and not even someone I know very well. She asked how I liked writing, and I spewed out some answer.

But you know what? I was right, because I was being honest. I said, "There are some things I like about it, and some things I don't. I'm trying to focus on the things I like, and ignore the rest."

Even as I said it, I knew that's what I needed to do. Ignore the stuff I don't like, or the things I can't control, and focus on what I love.

And that's the writing. So I'm going to be focusing on that, and leaving the rest behind.

Do you need to remind yourself of things like this? 

Be sure to stop by today's SURRENDER blog tour:

Remember, by participating in the blog tour this week, you can enter to win one of three signed books! VARIANT by Robison Wells, THE LIMIT by Kristen Landon, or THE DROWNED CITITES by Paolo Bacigalupi.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

SEE YOU AT HARRY'S by Jo Knowles

So we're taking a break from all the emotional onslaught that's been going on this week to talk about a particularly amazing book. SEE YOU AT HARRY'S by Jo Knowles.

I'll admit I had no idea what this book was about. I don't read the synopsis on books. All I knew was I had to go to the middle grade section at Barnes & Noble to find it, and that I'd been seeing some tweets that claimed it to be brilliant.

So I crack it open, ready for anything.

What I got was not what I expected. Yes, it's a middle grade novel. Yes, it is brilliant. I could stop there, but it would not do this book justice.

Fern is a fabulous narrator. She questions things the way 12-year-olds do. She observes things in her family and Jo weaves those things together in such an orchestrated way that the plot is breathtaking.

And then. Then you'll start crying. Maybe it doesn't take a lot for me to cry. Who knows? (The Village usually does it, that's for sure.) But I had to escape upstairs to keep reading this book, because there are Things That Happen that made the breath leave my body.

And then Fern's feelings and reactions to those Things that are just so perfect. I feel bad I can't spill all the Things, but you should go get your own copy of SEE YOU AT HARRY'S and then email me so we can talk about the Things.

Seriously. This is one of the best books I've ever read. And I read a lot.

Have you ever read a book that made the breath leave your body it was so perfect? Which one? 

Check out today's SURRENDER blog tour stops:

And check out what the other Bookanistas are doing:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Dude, I am so very tired today. I feel like I've been chasing that hope smoke we talked about earlier this week, and it's leading me in circles.

At the same time, I haven't had this hugely pressing schedule or anything. It's summer, and most days I can sleep as late as I'd like (though I did get up to play tennis this morning at 7 AM).

I think maybe I'm just recovering from launching another book, and the heavy weight of worry. Maybe? Have you ever felt more exhausted when you have hours and hours to do whatever you want? 

Don't forget to check out the SURRENDER tour stops today!

Be sure to enter to win a signed book this week by participating in the tour. All it takes is a blog comment, a tweet, or a follow.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Okay, so continuing down our characterization lane, today I want to talk a little bit about gratitude.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Never Surrender blogfest. I'll admit I was afraid no one would sign up. I may have even bribed a few of my friends to do it so there would at least be a couple of people participating.

I never thought I'd see over 90 of you participating and sharing such amazing personal stories. It fills my heart with gratitude.

I want to thank everyone who has purchased my books. I heard a statistic a few weeks ago though I have no idea if it's true or not. It was this: There were 212,000 books published last year. (Again, I don't know if that's accurate or true or not, though I believe the large number.)

212,000 options. Why choose mine? That's the question that's been going through my head for some weeks now. I am grateful for anyone who has purchased SURRENDER, or selected it from the library, or told a friend about it.

I think often there is not enough gratitude in the world. I often think I am not adding any. Hopefully today, we can all remember the little things we should be grateful for.

And be sure to check out all my Never Surrender moment regarding publishing on Stasia's blog today:

Monday, June 18, 2012


Okay, so this week, the SURRENDER blog tour is going down character lane. I hope you'll keep up with the tour (remember the whole schedule is here), because this week you can enter to win three signed books that have characters I love.

VARIANT by Robison Wells, THE LIMIT by Kristen Landon, and THE DROWNED CITIES by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Today, I wanted to talk about hope. Our characters need to have hope in our stories. Hope that they can overcome whatever is standing between them and what they want. Hope that good will win, love will triumph, and the truth will be uncovered.

When we build characters that have hope, it gives them drive. A way to keep going despite the odds against them.

I think as authors we need to have hope too. And sometimes it can be the hardest thing to grasp. It wisps like smoke, neither able to be caught or chased.

I'll admit that the hope I once felt has waned, and it's getting harder and harder for me to find. I want to locate it, breathe it in, re-experience what it feels like to hope for something worthwhile. So I'm going to be working on that this week, the same way we have to find it and give it to our characters.

How am I going to do that? I'm not sure exactly, but I'm hoping (ha!) to make the smoke solid.

What about you? Are you conscious of the hope you must give your characters? Do you have hope as an author?

Be sure to check out the SURRENDER tour stops today.

Enter to win in the widget below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Never Surrender Moment

So this week has been the Never Surrender blogfest. I have read so many amazing and inspirational posts that have helped me to feel less alone in the whole quest toward publication -- as well as this thing we call life. Thank you.

You can follow the whole list here, and it's not too late to sign up! The blogfest runs through Sunday. 

Today I thought I'd give you my Never Surrender moment. This is my life one, and I'm going to be sharing my publishing Never Surrender moment in a vlog on Stasia Ward Kehoe's blog on Tuesday. 

LIFE: I got married very young. (This is not the Never Surrender moment! Ha!) I had a child within the first two years of being married. I was 20 years old, not a college graduate, and taking care of a baby while my husband worked long hours in the retail market. We'd recently moved 350 miles away from any family, and we were together, but alone. (I know that doesn't make sense. Keep going with me.)

Because of my AP classes in high school, I was able to earn an Associate's degree after just one year of college, before my son was born. And I wanted to finish college. I waited through the semester and started at SUU in January 1999. My son was 5 months old. SUU was 50 miles away, one-way.

So we bought a beatup Chevy for $300, and I loaded my son in the backseat every day and drove to school. After attending classes, I picked him up at the daycare and drove the 50 miles home. Let me tell you the only thing that saved me: Tape deck + Paul Simon cassette. No lie.

18 months later, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a math minor. My son was almost 2. By this time my husband had quit his job and gone back to school. We were poor, driving two beat-up cars to work and school, tutoring college students in Math 101 to help pay the bills, and ready to get to the next stage of our lives.

We prevailed. It was hard, but at the time, I didn't realize how hard. It's only now, looking back that I realize it would've been so easy to quit. Quit school. Quit tutoring. Quit everything. So easy. 

But I didn't surrender then. I try not to surrender now.

"Never give up! Never surrender!" ~Galaxy Quest

Do you have a Never Surrender moment? Share it with us!

And don't forget about today's blog tour stops. It's the end of week 2, so be sure to go to the blog tour page and enter to win a $15 gift card from Barnes & Noble:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dystopian Domination 3, Now With SURRENDER

Okay, so I'm still a huge fan of everything dystopian. So when Precious asked me to participate in her Dystopian Domination 3, I jumped at the chance.

From her blog: Dystopian Domination 3 is a blog event that will be hosted by Precious of Fragments of Life that will run from June 8-September 28, 2012 (may change depending on the number of authors included) featuring YA and MG dystopian, post-apocalyptic and science fiction novels through character interviews, guest posts, reviews and giveaways.

And you guys! SURRENDER is up tomorrow, June 15. You can win a signed hardcover of both POSSESSION and SURRENDER, as well as a ton of other cool things.

Other authors in Dystopian Domination include Claire Merle, Gennifer Albin, Melissa West, and others. Be sure to check it out each week for features and giveaways. Precious does a great job with this!

There's only one blog tour stop today:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

#winViolet Today on Twitter

Dude, okay, so today author Kristi Cook and I are running a little thingy on Twitter. From 4 PM - 10 PM EST time, we'll be tweeting with the hashtag #winViolet. We'll be talking about our books and characters, and releasing one letter each hour.

Your job is to collect the letters and unscramble them to make a word. That's the password to this site, where you can then enter to win a signed copy of both MIRAGE by Kristi Cook and SURRENDER by well, me, Elana Johnson.

We hope you'll join us tonight! If you can't, no worries. Follow the #winViolet hashtag, collect the letters, unscramble them, and enter. The contest is open through the weekend.

Other stops on the SURRENDER blog tour today:

Remember that you can get a free swag package by participating in the Never Surrender blogfest this week. I've been reading the entries and they're so inspiring! I will get to every one, I promise. 

The Kindness Project

Okay, so this was something that started last month, and I was so swamped with the sheer act of breathing I didn't participate. Not to say that this month it's any easier to suck in that breath, but I'm at least on top of blogging. For now.

Here's the reasoning behind The Kindness Project: Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole . It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to blog about here, so I spent some time reading last month's posts. It appears as if people are mentioning little ways they can be kinder or spread kindness or whatnot.

For me, I think the easiest way to show more kindness is to get outside yourself. Yes, you have a lot going on. Maybe you just signed with an agent. Got a big book deal. Had a book come out (note to self, natch). It's all very exciting for YOU.

But it may not be as ultra-exciting for everyone else. We need to remember that not everything is about us. Get outside yourself.

I try really hard to do this. I try to get to as many blogs as I can. I try to answer every message and comment on my twitter, blog, and Facebook accounts. And when I do answer, I try to ask the person about themselves. Their work. What's going on for them.

Because not everything is about me, my book, my deal, my trip to NYC.

I'm sure you know someone whose blog you've stopped reading. Someone who can't post about anything but them, them, them. (I swear I won't post about Surrender forever! There's just a blog tour going on right now...) It's hard to go to those blogs over and over, because you know that person is all wrapped up in themselves. Sure, you might be happy for them. Ecstatic, even. But it's hard to constantly be taken from.

So today, give something back. All you have to do is ask someone about themselves, instead of talking about yourself. Give it a try. Spread the kindness.

What do you think? Have you sort of stopped reading a particular blog because of this me-syndrome? Have you tried asking people more about them than telling about yourself? 

Start your kindness journey by visiting all these fabulous Kindness Project participants:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Okay, so I'm here to tell you about an amazing author--Amanda Ashby--with two, that's right TWO, books out this month! This is a new middle grade series, so be sure to snatch it up!

Sophie's Mixed-Up Magic: Wishful Thinking: Be careful what you wish for…

After eleven year old Sophie accidentally gets herself turned into a djinn, she starts to think that it might not be so bad after all. (Of course, that’s after she gets the whole orange skin problem sorted out.) Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes! But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!

Sophie's Mixed-Up Magic: Under A Spell: And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E… 

As Sophie gets used to her magic, her relationship with the adorable Jonathan Tait is blossoming. There’s only one problem: Jonathan’s twin sister, Melissa. She’s a total mean girl who seems intent on making Sophie’s life miserable. On top of that, Melissa somehow seems to sense that Sophie has powers–and manages to bind Sophie to her in a totally self-serving way. Can Sophie figure out a way out of this–without ruining her chances with Jonathan?

And Amanda is here to tell us a bit about herself, her books, and her writing.

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
An adorable story about an 11 y/o girl who gets turned into a djinn the day before she starts sixth grade #amustreadforeveryone #seriously

Have you always wanted to be a writer? 
No, only because I had no idea that ‘regular’ people could be writers and so it wasn’t until my late twenties that I even realized it was something that I could do.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication? 
I’m very lazy so if I’m going to do something then I want something to show for it! (Anyone who writes a book AND gets it published is the opposite of lazy. Just sayin'.) And so for me, the moment I decided to write a book, it was always with the view to one day being published.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take? 
Kindle with a zillion books on it! (Not sure they have a way to recharge that thing in the tropics, but...)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate? 
Chocolate (though I do love bacon as well!) ((Of course she does. It's impossible not to!))

More about Amanda: Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally moved back and now lives on the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?). 

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award, and her first young adult book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Her latest release, Fairy Bad Day, has been selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012 and is a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Australia/NZ region. To find out more, please go to

See? Hope you'll pick up your copy of both book 1 and book 2 of this new middle grade series. 

One Week Out

I find this to be a strange place to exist. I don't know why. The signings are over. The excitement starts to wane a bit. Maybe it's the realization that I just have to go back to being normal, reading by the pool, and/or driving my kids around to their things.

I have to get back to work on writing the next novel. Launch week is so much fun, because all of that can sort of slide to the background, but this week? This week it's back to business.

I appreciate all of you who have purchased SURRENDER. I know there are literally millions of options for where to spend your money. Hundreds of thousands of books, and many movies, and endless possibilities for dinner. 

I'm grateful for the enthusiasm for the series, and the support on some of the more personal posts from last week. It is truly awesome to be part of this community.

Today's SURRENDER blog tour stops include:

  • Danyelle Leafty -- Gunner Jameson reveals what's most important to him
  • PJ Hoover -- Top 10 reasons to write a companion novel + giveaways!
  • Matthew MacNish -- blogs about a time he didn't surrender

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mama "MEA CULPA" + Never Surrender Blogfest!

Okay, a couple of things today. My good friend and critique partner, Christine Fonseca, has a new short story out today. MEA CULPA follows LACRIMOSA and DIES IRAE.

Here's a bit more about it: Everything has a price, especially duty. And love. 

Azza's attacks are always deadly...always. But that was before Nesy. And before Mikayel and Zane. Now, death has a new enemy. But, what's the cost for saving a life? 

MEA CULPA follows one angel's quest to save his best friend.

Oooh, intriguing. You can add MEA CULPA to your Goodreads list here. And you guys! It's FREE -- so download and enjoy today!

Never Surrender Blogfest!

So this week is the Never Surrender blogfest. All you have to do is blog about a time you didn't surrender. Trained for a marathon? Queried agents? Had to study for an entrance exam? I'm looking for inspirational stories that you have experienced. Hard things you've accomplished because you didn't give up. I want to be inspired by you!

Anyone who blogs this week for the theme can enter to win one of three $15 B&N gift cards using the Rafflecopter widget below. Everyone who blogs this week will receive a SURRENDER swag package.

Don’t blog? Put the cover of Surrender up on your FB wall, or pin it on Pinterest, or change your twitter avatar to the cover. Use the words “Never Surrender” somewhere to go with the picture, and link back to this post.

Sign up in this form to make sure you get the swag package. Elana will visit each blog to read your inspirational "never surrender" moments. Sign your blog up to participate in the Never Surrender blogfest linklist below. 

You can see some examples of some fabulous Never Surrender blogfest excerpts at Beth Revis's blog, Donna Weaver's blog, Alex Kahler vlogs his never surrender moment, and Theresa Milstein's blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And there's a whole new SURRENDER blog tour this week too! Be sure to get to all the blogs and comment so you can win one of those $15 gift cards to Barnes and Noble. The whole weekly schedule is here, and today's posts include:

Friday, June 8, 2012

An Interview With Another Violet

Okay, so the fabulous Kristi Cook had her second book come out this week too. MIRAGE is the sequel to HAVEN.

And the protag's name is Violet. Violet McKenna. Today, she's here to give us a bit more insight into her world, while my Violet--Violet Schoenfeld from POSSESSION/SURRENDER--is on Kristi's blog. Go read her interview over there.

So Violet, you have some powers of your own. Care to share what they are, exactly?
Well, I have visions of the future—which, trust me, isn’t a lot of fun, really. Mostly because the visions are always of bad things happening to people that I care about. If that’s not weird enough, it also turns out that I’m this rare kind of vampire slayer, a Sabbât. According to legend, there’s only three of us at any given time. In the entire world. Seriously. 

So you and Aidan, huh? Want to tell us more about him? What’s his power? Why are you so drawn to him? Come on, give us the good stuff.
At first I thought he was just a mind reader, which was really annoying—I had to learn to block my thoughts whenever he was around. Later, I learned he’s really a vampire. Which makes our relationship kind of tricky. You know, since I’m a vampire slayer. But…vampire or not, he’s kind. Really, really kind. And generous. And funny. And smart. And, okay, yeah, he’s pretty hot, too. 

What’s the one thing you were most scared about upon arriving at Winterhaven?
Not fitting in! I mean, I’d spent my entire life trying to hide my “gift” from the rest of the world. I didn’t want anyone to realize that I was a freak. Turns out, I didn’t need to worry about that!

What kinds of other powers can we find in the students at Winterhaven?
Pretty much the whole range of psychic powers—telekinetics, telepaths, clairsentients, empaths. My roommate, Cece, can astrally project, which is really cool. There’s this one group who people call the “shapeshifters.” I’m not exactly sure what the technical term is, but they can…I don’t know, kind of go all misty-like? So they can sort of blend in with their surroundings. Personally, I think it’s kind of cool, but they get picked on a lot. You know, the freakiest freaks at the freak school. Pretty lame, if you ask me. 

Got any enemies?
Apparently, vampires. At least, they’re supposed to be my enemies. And yet…my boyfriend’s a vampire, and so is Winterhaven’s current Headmistress, Mrs. Girard. Actually, I get along with most vampires just fine. It’s just those Propagators and rogue vamps I have to worry about.

What’s the one thing you miss most about your dad?
His laugh. He had the most amazing laugh.

What makes you the happiest?
Being with my friends—Aidan, Cece, Marissa, Sophie, Kate, Joshua, and Jack—at Winterhaven. It’s the first time in all my life that I can truly be myself, where I actually feel like I belong, you know?

Wow, excellent insight into Kristi's books, from the MC herself! Get your copy of MIRAGE today

ALSO, Kristi and I will be hosting a #winViolet tweet-fest next Wednesday, June 13. One lucky person will win a signed copy of both SURRENDER and MIRAGE. 

We'll be starting at 4 PM EST on twitter, tweeting a new letter every hour for six hours. Once you have all the letters, you'll have to unscramble them (it's six letters. You can do it!), and then go here to enter to win the signed copies of SURRENDER and MIRAGE.

So join us with the hashtag #winViolet next Wednesday!

Oh! And today, there are a lot of blog stops on the SURRENDER tour. It's your last chance to enter to win one of five signed copies of some Spectacular Second novels. Go here for the whole list from this week--you still have time to enter to win!

And you can enter to win here by filling out the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Hoff vs. Adam Lambert

Dude, do you want to see this man:

Go head-to-head with him:

You know you do.

GO HERE to pick either The Hoff or Adam Lambert to navigate you through the dangerous and deadly world of SURRENDER.

There's one other stop on the blog tour today:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Read the first 96 pages of SURRENDER free!!

Okay, so if you joined the online party yesterday you already know--and have hopefully read!--that you can read the first 96 pages of SURRENDER for FREE.

That's right. Free. Almost 100 pages!

Not only that, but in case you haven't read POSSESSION yet, you can whet your appetite--or remind yourself why you love Vi!--by reading the first 110 pages FREE.

Read the first 96 pages of SURRENDER free! -

Buy your copy of SURRENDER so you can experience the rest of the story.

Read 110 pages of POSSESSION!

Happy reading! Also, don't forget about the blog tours going on today:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SURRENDER is out today!

Ahhh! It's June 5, which means SURRENDER is officially out in the world! Woot to the woo! I hope you'll consider buying a copy this week, either online or at your favorite local bookstore. You can click here to see the list of online retailers or find a store near you.

Don't forget that I'm giving away five Spectacular Seconds this week. A Million Suns by Beth Revis. Crossed by Ally Condie. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Mirage by Kristi Cook. Perception by Kim Harrington. All books are signed!

One way to enter is to comment on the blogs participating in this week's tour. Here they are!

You can enter to win here by filling out the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not only that, but if you're part of the online release party for SURRENDER, you'll get access to something SUPER EXTRA SPECIAL--and you get it today. If you're not part of the party (boo! hiss!) you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Want to join the party?? GO HERE and see the SECRET, FUN, AWESOMENESS that's out in the wild today!

Monday, June 4, 2012

WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Okay, Kimberley is one of my favorite people on the earth. She is smart and funny and kind. She listens to me when I need to vent, and she gets it. So yeah. I got to see her cover a teensy bit early, because we went to the Storymakers conference together.

Isn't she so cute?

She had a cover reveal on her blog last week, and she's giving away lots of fun stuff! Her newest book is called WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME. Let's learn a bit more about it.

Everybody thinks Tara Doucet has the perfect life. But in reality, Tara’s life is anything but perfect: Her dear Grammy Claire has just passed away, her mother is depressed and distant, and she and her sister Riley can’t seem to agree on anything. But when mysterious and dazzling butterflies begin to follow her around after Grammy Claire’s funeral, Tara just knows in her heart that her grandmother has left her one final mystery to solve. 

A strange butler shows up to take Tara and Riley to Grammy Claire’s house, where Tara finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from Grammy Claire herself. Note by note, Tara learns unexpected truths about her grandmother’s life. As the letters grow more ominous and the keys more difficult to decipher, Tara realizes that the secrets she must uncover could lead to mortal danger. And when Tara and Riley are swept away to the beautiful island of Chuuk to hear their grandmother’s will, Tara discovers the most shocking truth of all — one that will change her life forever. 

From Kimberley Griffiths Little comes a magical, breathtaking mystery full of loss and love, family and faith.

And you can win a signed copy of Kimberley's THE HEALING SPELL, or a signed copy of CIRCLE OF SECRETS. I've read them both, and they're some of the best middle grade on the market right now. Not only that, but Kimberley is offering three ARCs of WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME!

You can enter on Kimberley's blog by leaving a comment and then unlocking the other options. GO HERE TO ENTER.

What do you think of her cover? 

Also, today begins the SURRENDER blog tour! I'm over at Literary Rambles with Natalie, and she's giving away a copy of my sophomore book! Follow all the action this week to enter to win one of five signed Spectacular Second books!

And I hope you're getting ready for Blog Tour Week 2 by signing up for the Never Surrender blogfest. You know you want to. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

All the Fear

Okay, so it's the last blogging day before launch week of SURRENDER. There are so many things that have been different about this launch than the release of POSSESSION, and I think I'd need at least a dozen posts to outline them all.

But the biggest one is the fear.

A debut is one thing. No one quite knows what the book is yet. There are a lot of unknowns with the debut that are now known with the second book.

It creates quite the funnel of fear. I haven't been my normal transparent self on the blog as of late, and a lot of that has to do with the promotional things with SURRENDER. But some of that has to do with other things, most of which you'll get to read about next week.

But one of those is fear. Somehow this book feels more pivotal than the first. It carries more weight. I don't know if it's because I really love this book as much as the first, or because the second book determines whether there'll be a third, or if somehow I'm different, or what.

All I know is I'm thrilled for Tuesday to finally come. I think SURRENDER is a fabulous sophomore book.

I'm also terrified of Tuesday. For reasons I can't quite grasp. Every time I try, they swim away and morph into new fears. Who knew days of the week could hold so much power over a person?!

Have you ever been scared of something and didn't quite know why? 

ETA: And then I had crit group last night. Everyone should have a crit group. And you should serve Dove chocolates at them. So we always share things at our group before we actually start shredding.

And here're my Dove words of wisdom.

Oh my heck! That says BE FEARLESS. Oh, Dove, if only it were so easy.

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