Friday, January 29, 2010

Things to Celebrate

Okay, so today's the first day of my monthly newsletter. I hope you got it. It will go out on the last Friday of every month at 9 AM EST (some of you thought I was kidding with the schedule thing, didn't you? Um, nope). And every first Monday of the month will be a book discussion. I think this will really bring us together as blogging buddies. Or maybe it'll bomb and I'll quietly fade into the great black abyss...

Anyway, February's book is The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, so meet me back here on Monday to discuss.

March's book choice is...announced in the newsletter. I really hope you got it. Oh! And the contest details were revealed in painstaking detail. Painstaking. Sort of.

Celebratory point two: as of today, my ebook is 25% off. The sale will go through February 28. Discount code: 25percentoff. Order here.

Numero Tres: I won some blog awards.

Thanks to Corra McFeydon for this one.

I'm giving it to: Elle, Carolyn, Kerri and Brandon.

And then I got this one from a few different people that I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember. (Hey, if you went to such lengths to stuff your inbox, you'd understand why I can't find the emails. I think Emma was the most recent.) I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy.

1. Eating out.
2. Reading good books.
3. My kidlets.
4. Listening to the rain fall.
5. Long showers.
6. Loud music.
7. Driving fast.
8. Peanut butter cookies.
9. Stroking YA covers at Barnes & Noble.
10. Blogging.

I'm passing it on to: my critique buddies. Ali, Jenn, Stacy, Christine, Suzy, Bethany, Danyelle, Beth, Mandy, Windy

And I got this one from Lorel Clayton. Thanks!

I'm giving it to: Lisa, Karen, Scott and Holly.

Tiana gave me this one:

I guess I have to answer these questions with just one word:

Your Cell Phone? Old
Your Hair? Short
Your Mother? Kind
Your Father? Hardworking
Your Favorite Food? Pizza
Your Dream Last Night? Dreams?
Your Favorite Drink? Gingerale
Your Dream/Goal? FinishEH
What Room Are You In? Kitchen
Your Hobby? Writing
Your Fear? Dogs
Where Do You Want to be in Six Years? Here
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something You Aren't? Alone
Muffins? Okay
Wish List Item? iPad
Where Did You Grow Up? Newton
Last Thing You Did? Blog
What Are You Wearing? Glasses
Your TV? On
Your Pets? Nonexistent
Friends? Chatty
Your Life? Happy
Your Mood? Melancholy
Missing Someone? No
Vehicle? Runs
Something You Aren't Wearing? Socks
Your Favorite Store?
Your Favorite Color? Yellow
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Critgroup
Last Time You Cried? Lastweek
Your Best Friend? Dr.J
One Place You Go To Over and Over Again? Library
Facebook? Farmville
Favorite Place to Eat? Olivegarden

I'm giving it to: Angie, Nisa and Jaime.

Got any exciting news to share? A promotion? Finish a chapter? Sent a query letter? Let me squee! with you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Duration

Okay, so publishing is like this giant roller coaster. And it spans from California (hi Christine!) to Alaska (hey, Paul) to Ohio (hola Lisa and Laura) down to the Carolinas and the deep south (hello Beth and Katie and Sarah and Shelli and Scott). It even crosses oceans (hi Amy).

There's loops. The kind that turn you upside down. Big hills with traction chains. Small hills. Deep drops. Sharp turns. The whole she-bang.

And after you've been on the ride for a while, you realize you're strapped in for the duration. That seatbelt is cinched and you're holding on for dear life.

And there's a lot of screaming.

Some tears.

Some intense chats and flurries of emails.

Lots of anxiety -- especially up those tractioned hills.

But you know what? I've come to learn that the roller coaster isn't always going up or down, but sometimes there's these straight stretches where you're just sitting there, waiting for the next high or the next low.

I hereby declare these straight stretches "The Duration."

And on The Duration, there's screaming. Some tears. Some intense chats and flurries of emails. Sometimes part of the track is missing, and you take a big breath as the car leaps...

And through it all, you're smiling because you're so dang happy to be on the ride at all.

And that is the ride that is publishing.

What do you think? What would you compare publishing to? (And don't say imprisonment. *wink*) How's your journey been so far? So many of you are new here, so take this chance to fill us in.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Query Letter Writing Process

Let it be known: I like writing query letters.

That's right. I won't deny it any longer. And...well, the contest thingy I have coming up right here on this blog channel? Yup, you guessed it. Related to queries. So let's get started on honing yours.

Some of you are new around here. I'm a bit of a freak in the regard that I enjoy writing query letters. Like, a lot. I usually start writing my query when I start writing the book.

Query Letter Writing Sekrit #1: You don't need every single plot point in the query. We just need the skeleton. And writing the query BEFORE the book -- I mean, how much more skeletal can you get?

I'm pretty good at getting the bones down by now (yes, even agented authors must write blurbs or query pitches). But here's a glimpse into how I developed this lunacy, er, query letter writing talent.

1. Write by hand. There's just something different about writing with a pencil. Number one, it forces my brain to sloooww dooowwn, something I really struggle with.

2. Print out successful queries. Mine is here. I wrote a whole eBook that has an entire section devoted to "queries that worked." (But wait till Friday to buy - there's going to be a sale!) Or click here, where most authors who do an interview for Pat provide their winning query letter.

With the printed queries in hand, I highlighted all the first sentences. I read them. Over and over. I came up with a formula for why they worked. Basically, I found this: a one-sentence hook line for the entire novel.

Mine: "In a world where Thinkers control the population and Rules aren't meant to be broken, fifteen-year-old Violet Schoenfeld does a hell of a job shattering them to pieces."

Then I read the last sentence of the blurb, skipping everything in between. I think this should give the reader a very good idea of what the book is about, just in two short sentences.

Mine: "When secrets about her "dead" sister and not-so-missing father hit the fan, Vi must make a choice: control or be controlled."

Together, they read: "In a world where Thinkers control the population and Rules aren't meant to be broken, fifteen-year-old Violet Schoenfeld does a hell of a job shattering them to pieces. When secrets about her "dead" sister and not-so-missing father hit the fan, Vi must make a choice: control or be controlled."

Everything in the middle came later. Much later. (So much later, that I'm going to blog about them next week. And then I'm going to talk about the "other" paragraphs in a query -- the ones besides the blurb.)

So if you're writing a query, just start with nailing that first sentence and then the last. It should encapsulate the novel, from a starting point to an ending point, with nothing in between. It seems like a small step, but it's really not. And we all need to start writing query letters in small steps anyway, right? Right.

What do you think? Can you take out the middle of your query and still have an explanation of your book from beginning to end? Try it! Post it in the comments, let us see and help. Even agented authors can do this -- and it might really help someone to see something like this from another query that worked.

So let's see what you've got!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tell the Truth Tuesday: You're Selling Yourself

Okay, so here we are, throwing our words out into the blogosphere. We comment. We laugh together. We cry. We think. You read my blog. I read yours.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why?

Well, I'm here to distill The Truth: As an author (pre-published or published) you're selling yourself.

And here's the kicker: You have to make yourself something people want to buy. You must make what you say something people will pay (time or money) to read.

How does one do that, exactly? [insert whiny voice, if necessary]

Well, for me, it's the same principles that apply to my relationships in real life. Because aren't blogs just online relationships?

1. Assume good will.
2. Treat others how you want to be treated.
3. If you must, put on your happy face and pretend.
4. Remember that every child blogger has someone that loves them. If in doubt, see #2. And then #3.

Have you ever thought about the purpose for your blog? Do you have goals for your blog? Have you thought of it as selling yourself as an author? And how's that workin' for ya? Do you think people are buying?

Monday, January 25, 2010

That Girl

Okay, so my sis had this pic of her from like, the 90's on Facebook. And I was like, "What. The. Heck is that?" and she schooled me that it was something like throwback picture week or whatever. And I was like, "I will kill you if you put up a pic of me from the 90s."

So front forward (yes, I know that's wrong. My DH laughs every time I say it.) a couple of weeks. I was getting dressed last week, and I'd recently cleaned off my dressertop. Thus, I could see the family pics from about 10 years ago sitting there.

And I looked at that girl.

And I tried to make her into me.

It didn't work.

Because I'm not that girl. Back then, I was a completely different person than I am today. And it felt weird. It felt so totally bizarre to be in my skin, and look at that girl and think about the life she lived in a different skin.

So then I went all nostalgic and pulled out a bunch more pictures.

Me, with a mullet. I look about eight, maybe, and I guess I caught eight fish that day.

How did that girl (↑) become this girl?(↓) The one not afraid to wear socks that don't match, and orange shoes and pose like an idjit for her girl's choice picture? (Yes, I have on a jean vest. 90's baby.)

Or this one? (↓) (That's me and my grandma and my sis. Leather is sooo much better than denim. At least I lost the bangs, right? And yes, that's the Canadian maple leaf with deer antlers behind me. My parents still have panelling. I mean, PANELLING. Yikes! Let the snarfing begin.)

And how did those girls become this one?

I think I know the answer.


I almost started crying.

And then, as I always do, I began thinking about my MC. See, she's been giving me fits lately. Through all the editing, in the beginning of the book I keep trying to make her someone--she--just--hasn't--become--yet.

And holy blazing light bulb moment.

Just like mine, her life is a character arc. (Yes, those words freak me out.) And just as I'm molded and shaped and changed by things that happen in my life, so is my MC.

And just like me, she is not the same at the beginning of her story as she is at the end.

Now, this isn't the first time I've thought about charcter arcs. It's just not something I pay attention to while I'm writing. Like, at all.

But I will now. Because I've internalized it.

What have you learned about writing from your real life? Am I the only one practically bawling when I see myself from ten years ago? (Okay, fifteen, sheesh.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

How I Do It

Many of you have asked me how I do everything I do. You know, the farming and virtual cooking. The blogging. The blog reading. The query lettering. The reading. The working. The family stuff. Sleeping. And, oh yeah, don't forget the writing.

Well, strap yourselves in for a math lesson. Hey, I gotta put that math minor to use somehow. I'll be sprinkling in a few things I do along the way.

7 days a week x 24 hours in a day = 168 hours/week.

Sleep: 8 hours x 7 days = 56 hours.

Contrary to popular belief, I sleep 8 hours every night. I'm nothing if not scheduled. And schedules are not broken.

Hours remaining: 112.

Work (including travel time): 6 hours x 4 days = 24 hours.

Special Note: I work a job in front of a computer. I check forums, blogs, etc. and get paid to do it. In fact, I only read blogs while at work. (I blogged about Speed Blogging here.) Thus blogging hours: <24.

And yes, I only work 4 days a week. Don't throw rotten fruit.

Hours remaining: 88.

Writing: 2 hours x 7 days = 14 hours.

I do 95% of my writing between 9 - 11 PM. That's a lot of time if you think about it. Even without my endless three-day weekends, and full summers without employment, I spend a lot of time writing. (And when I say "writing" I mean in all it's forms, i.e. revising.)

My youngest kidlet is 5. She's been potty trained for years. Goes to bed at 8:30 no. matter. what.

My oldest kidlet is 11. He can do almost everything adults can do. Goes to bed at 9:00 no. matter. what. (Take that, super nanny!)

Hours remaining: 74.

Blogging: Posts read at work (see above). I write all my blog posts on the weekend. Sure, I double check the night before, but it's a five-minute thing.

So 5 minutes x 5 days a week = 25 minutes.
Post writing on the weekend: 2 hours. Since I do the once-a-week method for blog writing, I only have to think about blogging once, instead of five separate times. This works for me.

Hours remaining: 71 hours, 35 minutes.

Other kewl facts: I can type 89 words a minute. That's 91.5% faster than everyone else on Facebook, just so you know. *wink*

Twitter/Facebook/Forums: maybe 1-2 hours x 6 days = 6 - 12 hours.

I only tweet at night (or while at work). Here, there, whenever. I try to update Facebook once a day. My FB is organized into "family" "publishing people" and "everyone else". I go through each list, liking and commenting. Time? About 20 minutes. Since FB is blocked by the firewall at work, I do this upon arriving home.

Hours remaining: 60+. 

So there you have it. Some of the things I do in order to get it all done. And even then, I always feel helplessly behind.

What do you do? Schedule your blog reading time? Write while your kids are asleep? Duck into a writing forum during lunch? How do you fit it all in? Whatever "it" may be. Got any tips for me?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Won't Worry My Life Away

Okay, so I was listening to Pandora at lunch the other day, and this Jason Mraz song came on. (And just for the record, most of the songs I like are by him and I didn't even know who he was until "I'm Yours." How lame am I? Wait. Don't answer that.)

Anyway, this song--I Won't Worry My Life Away--came on. And for some reason, it struck me as profound.

See, I'm a born worrier. I worry that the sun won't shine brightly enough for the picture on Saturday. That we'll be late to lunch. That my son won't make it into this class or that football team. There's this to worry about and then that and oh, yeah, that other thing.

I can worry like no one else.

So of course, I sit and worry about my book. What if no one likes it? What if my agent pitches it and all the editors laugh in her face? What if no one buys it? What will I do then? Will anything I write be good enough to be published? What if someone does like it? What if it gets published and everyone else hates it? See, my worries are not limited to failures. I worry about success too.

The list goes on and on. So I must've been in one of my worrying states when this song came on. And it calmed me down. So, deep breaths, worriers. "Because...

the remedy is the experience. It is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that its serious. Which is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you're gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends when it all amounts to nothing in the end.

I won't worry my life away."

What about you guys? Do you spend unnecessary time worrying? What do you worry about? How do you make yourself stop the worrying? Do you find yourself worrying more about your real life or your publishing life?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Al Gore

Raise your glass to Al Gore, inventer of the Internet, stopper of Global warming, for without him, this never would've happened.

Okay, so that's 16 of the awesomest writers within a 50-mile radius. If you're not following these guys, you so should be.

Standing, L-R: L.T. Elliot, Mary Campbell, Nichole Giles, Alaina Evans, Elana Johnson (that's me), Angie Lofthouse, Carolyn Vawdrey, Michelle Argyle, Suzette Saxton, Windy Aphayrath

Kneeling: Jenn Wilks, Tess Hilmo, Ali Cross, Natalie Whipple

This amazing moment came after the awards ceremony. I'm telling you, this party brought the biggest smile to my face. So thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the Interwebs so we could "meet" online and then meet in RL. (And for those who are mathematicians, there's only 14 of us in the picture. But Jaime Theler was there and so was Kim Webb Reid. They had to leave early though. And Jenn Johannson was supposed to come, as was Danyelle Leafty. Maybe next time!)

Which writerly friends have you met in real life? Who do you want to meet?

More pics, just for fun:

(Yes, that's me with two different flavors of Ben & Jerry's. De-lish.)

(Me and girl kidlet handing out some schweet awards during the ceremony.)

(Jaime and L.T. Two of my favorite people, evah!)

(The loverly Suzette and Windy.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Sith Lord

*cue music*

You know the kind. Darth Vader's kind.

Okay, so I went to a writing party on Friday. It was all kinds of amazing and awesome and uber-fun. And now, apparently, I'm the Sith Lord. I've been luring writers to the dark side for months now.

Who knew?

And just what is the dark side? Paranormal. Yeah, I luvz it. So I guess I've been "encouraging" my contemporary writerly friends that they should write paranormal.

And now I've decided to go contemporary. I can't remember who it was that said I was "enticing" the competition to my side just so I could run a coup on contemporary.

But I'll find out. Oh, yes. The Force is strong with me. I'll find out.

*/end music*

So the party was awesomesauce. We sat around and talked about what we write. So, dear friends, what do you write and why? What genres do you find yourself gravitating toward? What's easy? What's harder?

And do you think I'd look good in a hood? (lol!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Stay Tuned...

Okay, so I can't keep it inside anymore.

*covers mouth*

Okay, yes I can.

(NO, my book hasn't sold. Don't go there.)

But I have some major exciting things happening right here on my blog in February. I can't spill everything (that's for newsletter subscribers), but here's a teaser:

Shelli Johannes Wells and I have teamed up. And boy, is that gonna be dangerous! We've got The Query Expert (Elana) planning a major World Domination Tactic with a team of agents (that's right -- plural!), a week of Marketing Gurus, and The Marketing Expert (Shelli) is offering a HUGE Prize from her agent, Alyssa Henkin (for unagented authors) and a Massive Marketing Prize (for agented/published writers).

Here's what you can do right now:
1. Follow my blog (little widget right over there -->).
2. Follow Shelli's blog (you'll have to be a follower of both of us to enter, so just do it now).
3. Subscribe to my newsletter (you'll get the scoop FIRST!).
4. Sit back and relax -- or polish up your MS/synop/query letter/combination of the aforementioned. *winkage*

So there's all of that. It's really going to be a cool time, so stay tuned!

As for the whole World Domination Tactic, well, that's still in the works. I am planning some posts on query letters, and I'd like them to be valuable and entertaining. I mean, that's why you come over here, right? Freak, I hope so.

So I'm wondering: What do you want to know about querying? What kind of information are you looking for? What can I help you understand better? About the letter itself, the process of writing the letter or about sending it out, all of it.

I answer a lot of questions in my ebook--which will be on sale during the WDT--but what do you wish you could get in one--hopefully entertaining--blog post--for free? (Sheesh, can I use another em-dash in that sentence? Beat that, bloggers!)

Inquiring minds...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where I Spend My Time

When I open a new tab in Google Chrome, it brings up my most frequented places. When I got my new laptop, I had to "train" it. Luckily, it only took about a week to see where my priorities lay.

I give you Where I Spend My Online Time:

1. Facebook (I blame CafeWorld and FarmVille. You should too.)
2. Rallystorm (I'm long-winded. What can I say?)
3. Twitter (I like to eavesdrop.)
4. Blogger (I'm here five days a week, people.)
5. Pandora (2 accounts. 80 hours. The end.)
6. QueryTracker (This is like a three-peat. Blog. Forum. Success Stories.)
7. My own blog (Is that so wrong?)
8. Google (Hey, even I do a little research. A very little.)

I like to tell myself that I'm a supreme multi-tasker, and I'm juggling twitter and forums and blogging amidst my revisions, but it's all a lie. I have to get the tabs down to two (Pandora and gmail) before I even open Word.

What about you? Where do you spend your time online?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Holy Blazes...

I made a stark realization about myself last week. See, I did a post on The Unnameables, a fantastic book, and the agent who sold the book, Kate Schafer, quoted from my blog. What'd she quote?

"Holy blazes, the woman knows how to use words the right way."

I almost died.

I realized from that quote that the writing style and voice from my novel had bled into my blog post. And it's not the first time.

My ten-word Tuesday post contained the same style. As did that "Here's why:" up there.

*head desk*

Now that I'm aware of the problem, I realize I've been doing it for months. Whenever I'm writing, the style and voice creep into ALL my writing. This blog. My chats (sorry guys!!). My tweets. Facebook updates.

Holy blazes! (DANGITALL!)

See, my (OH. MY. HECK.) MC says "blazes" and "blazing" as a curse word. I find myself saying it out loud now. And, she starts sentences with "See," to explain things to the reader (OH FREAK. I DID IT IN THE SECOND SENTENCE OF THIS VERY POST!). And I use the writing style like Problem: the tattoo flowed over his face. with the colon and everything.

That's it. I can't write blog posts anymore.

Holy tornadoes, (ACK!) tell me you guys do this too! Does your character voice and writing style sneak into your other writing? Your freaking conversations??

**Note: When I was revising CI, most of my blog posts started with "Yeah," something characteristic of that novel. Shoot me. Shoot me now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Light Bulb Moment

So yeah. I could go on and on about what led up to this convo, but I won't. Mostly because I have so many convos I can't keep them all straight. Or maybe those are just the voices in my head. *wink*

But basically, Katie Anderson and I were talking. And exciting things are happening for both of us.

Katie: Are you nervous?

Me: *hysterical laughing* *furiously typing* Beyond. I'm terrified of this, that, and the other (I won't bore you with the details, but I typed much more than this, trust me.)

Katie: It's almost as if success is more terrifying than failure.

TEN SECONDS LATER, in PG, UT: Light bulb moment.

She nailed it. Nailed it.

Failure I can do. I can handle. I've been there, done that. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth and your stomach doing these weird flippy things. But I can deal.

Success? Not so much.

Well, okay, there was that one time I won those 50 Jazz tickets. And I did graduate from college. I have a good job. I've been married to the same man for 13 years.

Okay, okay. I've succeeded at some things too. Funnily enough, it leaves this weird taste in your mouth and your stomach doing these weird flippy things. I guess I'll have to learn to deal.

And no, I have no news. Just curbing those comments right now. :)

So tell me, have you had a light bulb moment recently? What was it about? What do you think of the success being terrifying thing?

And PS: You want to sign up for my newsletter. I have some very VERY exciting things planned for February and newsletter subscribers will get the low-down before everyone else. Way before. In-enough-time-to-prepare-before. Just sayin'. And that's all I'm sayin'. *winkage*

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ten Word Tuesday

Inspired by Nisa. Thanks, girl!

Ask yourself: Why NOT me?

Then: Go forth and conquer.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Kung Foo Is Strong

Do you like the new digs? I've been wanting to change up the look of my blog and website for a while, but well, you know, my DH does all the decorating at my house. I wear men's jeans. And clothes from 2000 and late. 'Nuff said.

So imagine my surprise when the fabulous Lisa Amowitz (her plot map is ah-ma-zing) emailed and offered to make me a shiny new header. See, she is the wickedest awesomest graphic designer. And an amazing author, so follow her blog if you're not already.

Then came the whole template thing.

Oh. My. Holey. Swiss. Cheese.

What a nightmare! No wonder I haven't done it. Hours, people. It took hours. And this template had the comments at the top (something I dislike) and it took me half my life to figure out how to A) find the html code and B) where to move it so it would be at the bottom. But, dude, I persevered!

Something funny: my new template's name is New Moon. It came with fabulous pics of Bella and Edward and Jacob. Tee hee.

But, hey, this massive redesign project saved me from beginning revisions on the final third of my MS. Therefore, my kung foo is strong, and I'm ready to throw down a major can of nunchuckage on said MS.

How's your kung foo? Feeling good about life? Writing? Revisions? Blog makeovers?


Friday, January 8, 2010

Bad Poetry -- Just For You

Dear Bloggy Friends,

I've written songs for you
Comments galore
I spilled about my writing origins
And much, much more

Holy crap, I'm writing poetry
Something I swore I never did
See? That's how wicked amazing you guys are
I'll do whatever you bid

I love living the impossible
I love how you endure my rants
I love hearing your innermost thoughts
Hey, I even like your pants

Thanks for clicking over here
Thanks for being my fabulous friends
Thanks for leaving your comments
I hope this journey never ends


By the way, I've been having brainwave after brainwave for my newsletter. And at the risk of sounding snooty, I think it's gonna rawk the house! Sign up if you haven't yet!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


The best thing about writing is the fact that we can make the impossible possible.

For example, I was watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat the other day with my girl kidlet. She's sort of a freak for anything dancing and singing related. And I realized that I am too. I was all belting out these songs and stuff, and I got a little teary.

Sheesh. Now I'm crying at musicals!

Anyway, this is why. I would love to be on stage, singing and dancing and wearing all that stage makeup. Maybe. But I never will -- and my complete lack of dancing ability and my tone deafness are only two reasons why.

Becoming a Broadway performer is an impossibility.

But through writing, I can do anything!

Anything that doesn't require research, that is. *wink* (Hey, I'm nothing if not realistic.)

What about you guys? What can you do while writing that you would/could never do in real life?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Whatever (WiP) Wednesday

Today I'm just throwing my hands up and shouting, "Whatever!"

  • To the millions of No Kiss posts I haven't read. Whatever!
  • To the tens of millions of tweets I miss. Whatever!
  • To the crops that are withering. The cheesecake going to waste. Okay, okay, that's not really happening. No matter what, I'm tending to my Facebook games. But I almost had you, right?
  • To having a home-cooked meal. What. Ev. Er.
  • To bathing. Whatever.
  • To going to work. I mean, srsly? Do I even need to say it? (*whatever*)

Because, dude, I have other things to do. More important things. It's called rewriting an entire book. Ever heard of it?

  • To going bald due to rewrites. Whatever.
  • To Pandora, who still only allows 40 hours of listening. Don't they know that rewriting can only take place with a Glee song screaming in the background? What-ev.
  • To the three red pens I've already run dry. That's right. THREE. Whatever, Bic. I think I got defective pens. Oh, wait. I am rewriting an entire book. On paper. By hand. Whatever.
  • To things like "bedtimes" and "new year's resolutions." Whatever. When you're rewriting a book, you don't notice how the hours silently (well, not silently. There is Pandora.) slip by. You don't notice you've eaten an entire bag of Reese's peanut butter cups by yourself or drank the 2-Liter of ginger ale. I mean, srsly. Oops. I mean, whatever!

So there you go. What I'm working on. And pretty much how I feel about it right now. How are you doing? What are you working on? What do you need to shout, "Whatever!" at? Do it! I'll yell it with you.

Ready? 3...2...1...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Truthful Tuesday: It's Not All About You

No, really. It's not.

You know I love blogging. I love reading blogs. I like Facebook. I comment and like stuff with the best of them. I'm doing my best to tweet at least a few things every day. So I'm out there, doing my "author branding" thing and whatnot.

And something struck me the other week as I was doing my lunchly blog reading.

We all talk about ourselves on our blogs. It's what a blog is. But some people go on and on about how amazingly awesome they are.

*whispers The Truth* That kinda bugs me.

I want you to SHOW me how amazingly awesome you are by the content of your posts. The way you use words. Your personality. Your sincerity in comments. In Facebook posts. In tweets.

Show, don't tell.

Because I want to decide for myself how amazingly awesome you are. I hate being told. And you come off sounding kind of snooty (okay, more than kind of -- at least for me). And then I'm less likely to go to your blog again, because you've rubbed me the wrong way.

So, friends. Is there something to be said about humility? I mean, obviously we all think we have something valuable to say each day. Something valuable to write. Something we are brass enough to think agents and editors and the general masses will love. But does that mean we should get on our blogs and shout to the world how amazingly awesome we are?

I want my blog, my website, my work, my personality to shout that -- without words.

What about you? Thoughts on this?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Using The Right Words

Okay, so over the break I read five books. I tend to go in spurts in my reading because I have a hard time reading and working on my own writing. So when I find myself burned out beyond belief on revisions, I turn to books. Funny how I never feel "burned out" on writing, but I haven't written anything new for ages. But, well, that's another story for another day.

I really enjoyed the books I read. But there was one that absolutely captivated me.

The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem.

I highly recommend it to anyone who is a lover of words.

Because, holy blazes, the woman knows how to use the right words to tell the story.


And that's the kind of author I want to be. Not one that just has an amazing story (which The Unnameables does) or compelling characters (another check for Ms. Booraem), but one that when people read the book, they'll go, "Ah, this author knows how to use the right words to build the story."

Because that's how powerful words are. They're an author's tools.

I love books like The Unnameables because they're tutorials on how to use my tools the most effectively.

What do you look for when reading? Are you looking for ways to use the right words? How?

Oh! And I'm doing a monthly newsletter for 2010. I added a little linky thing in my sidebar, right below my profile. I'm going to be collecting the best blog posts, announcing contests, discussing hot topics in publishing and sharing news of my book (when I have some). So sign up, okay? Okay. I'm so excited for the new decade!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


And we're kicking off the new year with a winner!

The official Elana Johnson Know-It-All and winner of a $25 gift certificate to is...

Congrats Katie! I'll be emailing you. Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Red Tag Contest Is On!

Okay, today's the day! Fill out the form below to enter to win a $25 gift certificate from! This contest will close on Saturday, January 2 at midnight, MST. So those of you who partied last night (Happy 2010!) have plenty of time to sleep it off before answering (Scott - *wink*).

Good luck! And I can't wait to see the results! Winner of the title "Elana Johnson Know-It-All" and the $25 gift certificate will be announced on Sunday, January 3. Let me know if the questions were too hard! I tried to pick really easy ones. Easy, easy.

Happy New Year!

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget