Thursday, December 23, 2010


Okay, so I was going to do a Bookanista post today, but I was too lazy to do it. I can't do another list, because I did a (potentially lame) one on Tuesday. I'm not blogging tomorrow, and I'm taking next week off, so this is my last post of 2010.

It has to be good.



This is it.

I could tell you that I like that Target commercial where Santa is running in to get a last minute gift.

But that's ghetto.

I could tell you that I've started watching Seinfeld again, and every episode is just as good as I remember.

But that just shows how old I am.

I could tell you that I've eaten out at least once every day this week.

But that just illustrates...something about me. I'm not sure what.

So I guess I'll just say this: 2011 IS GOING TO BE THE YEAR OF AWESOME.

Are you ready?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All the Pigs Have Died!

Two topics today. Bacon and quitting. Don't they go together swimmingly? Let's examine.

On Bacon:
Okay, so Quinn thought he'd be reeeaaal clever and ask: "If some virus or something caused all the pigs in the world to die--meaning, no more bacon--what would you do?"

I'm not even sure I can answer this question. I mean, seriously. How about: medicate myself with another salted cured meat. Would that work?

Probably not. #savethepigs!

Katie Ganshert asked: "When did your love affair with bacon first begin? Was it love at first sight? More of a falling in love as you get to know each other better type of thing? Have you ever gone through rough patches?"

I've loved bacon for as long as I can remember. Totally love at first sight. And doesn't every relationship have it's rough spots? Yes. Bacon and I...we're sort of evolving into new areas right now. You know, maple sugar, chocolate. The possibilities really are endless.

And dude! I just got this book from my editor. My life is now complete.

On Quitting:
Carolina Valdez Miller asked: "Have you quit? I mean, have you ever just said, "I can't do this anymore," and stopped writing? At least for a while?"

Oh, I've definitely said, "I can't do this anymore," and it was said in extreme frustration. But did I quit? No. I might take a break and watch my favorite movies (Two Weeks Notice and Pirates of the Caribbean) or make too much food or curl up with my Pillow Pet. But I haven't actually quit writing.

Kathryn Packer Roberts asked: "Do you have a book(s) that you absolutely loved and had to shelve to move on to the one you are publishing? How did that feel and why did you end up coming to that decision? Do you think you will ever go back to that/those books?"

1. Yes, I queried another novel before POSSESSION. Yes, I loved it. Yes, I thought it was good. I was wrong.

2. Shelving that book felt like ripping out my heart, sticking it in the microwave, and watching it explode. I had to shelve it because deep, deep down inside the tiny part of myself that knows things knew it wasn't "the one." And I'd queried every agent on the planet and they all said no. That convinced me, too.

3. No, I don't think I'll go back to that book. I like the characters and the concept, and I might rewrite it from blank pages using their names and the overall idea, but that's it. In the far distant future. It's not a project that's even on the stove right now.

What about you? Have you ever quit? Are you contemplating throwing in the towel? Why? And most important: What would you do if pigs landed on the extinction list? (Perish the thought.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tell the Truth Tuesday, Christmas Edition

Let's just launch right in, shall we? Yeah, who needs these introductory lines?

1. Once again, my blog posts aren't written in advance. This makes me queasy each night when I go to bed, because I haven't edited them to death. You've been warned.

2. The reason my blog posts aren't written is because I wasn't sure I was going to be blogging this week.

3. I decided to take next week off instead of this week, but I still didn't write any posts over the weekend.

4. I'm sure you're all fascinated by my blogging thought process.

5. Then blogger freaked out. Wouldn't open. Spun. And spun. And spun. Which prompted this tweet.

6. I learned how to use the program "Snipping Tool" on my computer to capture that shot for you. You're welcome.

7. I made two pans of ghetto toffee (delish), 35 homemade oreo cookies (2 cookies each, yo) and like, a million Oreo bon bons (dipping chocolates is sooo not my thing. It requires patience.) yesterday. I hope the neighbors are happy.

8. I found the perfect song for my WiP. "The Harold Song" by Ke$ha. Very angsty. Right up my alley.

9. It's my dad's birthday today. I guess I better get on the horn and sing.

10. My new favorite movie is "Despicable Me." Don't judge. ("It's so fluffy!")

11. You might be asking yourself how this is the Christmas Edition of Tell the Truth Tuesday. I know I am.

What's on your mind today? Tell me the truth now...

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Hate My Life Right Now

Okay, so I was looking through some old email (don't ask), and I saw this subject. I'd written the email to a friend of mine, and this was the message:

Subject: I hate my life right now
Date: 5/18/09

Message: "Okay, so [name of amazing literary agent who just wasn't for me] just rejected my full because of this: "I think your writing style is quite masterful and fluid, but I regret that the pace moved slowly for me and I worried that young readers might not get hooked by the story as quickly or as wholly as they should."

And it's my first full rejection and now all my happy energy is completely gone! Waah!!"

That was the beginning of my querying journey. I had many more fulls rejected after that. I survived.

I am still alive.

And I found my one.

You can too.

It's interesting to me to look back on emails like this and remember that desperation, despair, happiness, and/or elation. At the end of each year, I like to look back and see how far I've come. Sometimes it's farther than I thought. Sometimes, I know I need to do better.

When you look back at the last year, what do you see? Can you see how far you've come?

(And I don't really hate my life right now. I have the next 14 days off work--so it's actually the best day ever.)

Bug caricatures by Neil Numberman: Jemi Fraser, Shari, and Natalie Aguirre!

Congrats all! Email me for details, okay? Okay.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Going Green

Julie Wright asked: do you ever get like crazy jealous of other authors who "seem" to have it easy with publishing?

Short answer: heck yes.

Longer answer: heck yes I do! There are endless options for the Green to come. She got a better deal than I did. He only had to query for two weeks. Her pub is doing this, and this, AND THIS. He just sold movie rights. They only sent 25 queries? Are you serious??

She got this and I didn't.
He got that and I didn't.

Yeah, I feel it. I don't like feeling it.

So what do I do?

A combination of things:
1. Shut down the Internet. Can't feel bad about what you don't know.
2. Work harder to make my next book better, my next blog post better, myself better.
3. Chat with people who won't hate me (much) for whining.
4. Eat a lot of sour patch kids.
5. Remind myself that I'm going to have a real, live, breathing, shiny book in just 6 months. And that's all I ever wanted.

I didn't want to be rich. I didn't want a movie. I didn't want everything.

I wanted to see my book sitting on the shelf at a bookstore.

And I will.

It wasn't easy, and yeah, I sometimes hate people who seem to have it easy (seriously, 25 queries??). But then I remember my journey, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It's mine. And my long, painful, I-think-publishing-a-book-might-kill-me journey helped me become the writer I am. The blogger I am. And I like that person.

Let's hear your answer to Julie's question: do you ever get like crazy jealous of other authors who "seem" to have it easy with publishing?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE by Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman

Okay, so switchin' it up on the blog today. You know me, I'm all angsty teen drama. But today's Bookanista feature is *gasp* a graphic novel.

No lie.

JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE by Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman, to be exact. And dude, there's so much to love! Bugs! Adventure! Action! Even though this isn't the norm fr me, I really enjoyed this book. And I managed to get Aaron and Neil to answer my insane questions...


The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Aaron: A dramatic tarantula. A theatre company. A missing leading lady. A jealous gypsy moth. A snide stinkbug. Add suspense and poop jokes. Stir and enjoy. (WIN for the best twitter pitch. I mean, stirring poop? YES.)

What made you think, “Hmm, I think I’ll write a graphic novel?” Or “Hey, I want to illustrate a graphic novel?” (whichever applies)
Aaron: The first Joey Fly book actually started as a novel. It was my editor who looked at it and said “This is a graphic novel." I had written a graphic novel series before (Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja), so I was totally up for transforming this mystery series into a graphic novel.

Neil: I don’t think I was actively seeking out graphic novel illustration gigs when Aaron’s script for the first Joey Fly crossed my desk, but they offered it to me, and I wasn’t about to decline! I had only done a few comics up to that point, probably less than a total of ten pages, but I thought it’d be a fun challenge.

What else are you working on? Secrets? Inside scoops? Give us the juicy stuff!
Aaron: I’ve recently written Joey Fly #3: Haunted Housefly, which we hope will continue the series in a great way. I also have a new picture book coming out with Simon and Schuster called CREEPY CARROTS. It’s a mock-horror about a bunny who is convinced he’s being stalked by evil root vegetables. (Oh my heck. I'm in love with this. And not just because it's S&S...)

Neil: I’m working on a heavily illustrated chapter book right now. I used to be a reluctant reader, and now I want to reach out to that crowd. So, there are lots of cartoons, but also a dense story with a lot of colorful characters.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Aaron: Definitely not. But I always wanted to be CREATIVE. I started out in theatre, as an actor. That led to writing plays, directing videos and film, producing animations, and even a stint at cooking school thrown in there along the way for fun. All of this eventually led me to writing books for kids. Sometimes you don’t end up where you thought you would, which is the amazing and wonderful beauty of life, especially a creative life.

Neil: I always loved writing as a kid and got great feedback from teachers, but over the last decade I’ve just been trying to polish my illustration skills. I’m just now getting into writing again, and really happy to be doing it!

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
Aaron: I was writing plays for kids and having success with that. And I loved kids’ books. One day I decided that I should try my hand at a kids’ book. The results were highly unpublish-worthy, but I loved the process and the writing itself. So I wrote another. And another. And another. Eventually, one of them was actually good enough to be published and things opened up from there.

Neil: Who wouldn’t want to be published?! (I know, right?) I was lucky enough in my early career that the publishers have found me. (I sort of hate you for this. Just sayin'. And come read tomorrow's post to find out exactly why...) I suppose that’s an advantage of being an artist as well.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to be a contestant on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
Aaron: Extra underwear.

Neil: Fire. (Well played, Numberman. Well played.)

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know.
Aaron: I’m a bit of a World of Warcraft addict. (In my experience, there is no "bit" about it. ;))

Neil: I can balance a yardstick on my nose for well over ten minutes. (I have no comment for this.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
Aaron: Chocolate wrapped in bacon, please. (My new BFF!)

Neil: No bacon for me and I’m allergic to chocolate! (Oh, now this is just sad. My condolences.)

Aaron Reynolds is a human, not a bug, but he often writes about bugs. He is the author of Chicks and Salsa, Superhero School, Snowbots, and, of course, the Joey Fly, Private Eye graphic novels. Visit him at his website at

Neil Numberman is a termite currently residing in New York City. Joey Fly, Private Eye his first graphic novel series, but he is also the author/illustrator of the picture book Do NOT Build a Frankenstein. Stop by his website at

As if this wasn't the funnest post ever, you can get your own bug caricature drawn by Neil himself! In fact, a whole bunch of you can. I will be choosing 1 out of every 10 people who comment, and Neil will draw for YOU! Win.

So leave a comment. I mean, seriously, there's a vast array of possibilities. Poop stirring. Ruler balancing. Chocolate allergies. How Aaron didn't give up. Pick one. And then go pick up JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE. You won't be sorry.

Oh, and Aaron and Neil will be hovering around the blog today, so feel free to ask them questions!

And check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:
Kirsten Hubbard celebrates JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS
Beth Revis chimes in on CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker rave about BOOKS THEY’RE DYING TO READ
Carolina Valdez Miller looks ahead to JANUARY RELEASES
Bethany Wiggins fawns over Firelight

Jemi Fraser and Shari have already won their own bug caricature from Neil! Could you be next?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Inside Elana: Favorites

Jemi Fraser asked: I'd like to know 2 things...
1 - what was the book that really hooked you into being a reader as a kid? (I have no idea. I didn't think consciously of things like that as a child. I still don't, most of the time.)

2 - what is your favourite book to read aloud to kids? (Hmm...I don't teach reading, but my husband loves to read THE WISH LIST by Eoin Colfer.)

Sharon K. Mayhew asked: Twizzlers or M & M's? (M&Ms. Pretzel.)

Nicole L Rivera asked: What book did you read that made you most want to become a writer? (UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld.)

Jess of All Trades asked: What's your sign? (Sagittarius. My birthday was on Saturday.)

lynnrush asked: I like to wear one of my most favorite sweatshirts while I write. It's totally old and faded, but it's just something I love to wear while writing. Anyway, do you do anything like that? Like clothing, or maybe a special spot to write, or whatever. . . (The only thing I need is a pair of headphones. The louder the music, the better. But I won't lie; I like to lounge in pj's most of the time.)

lotusgirl asked: What's your favorite time of day and why? (Night, between say 9 - 11 PM. The house is quiet. I'm done "working" for the day. I can write/blog/watch TV, whatever I want. 9 - 11 PM holds FREEDOM.)

Colene Murphy asked: What is the best thing you ever brought to show and tell as a kid? ( idea. I remember being lame in elementary school, so I probably brought lame things.)

Susan R Mills asked: do you like your bacon burnt and crispy like I do? (Heck yes! Almost to the point of burnt.)

Shannon Messenger asked: Captain Jack Sparrow or Will Turner? (This says it all.)

(He'll always be Legolas to me.)

Lisa Gibson asked: Do you think bacon flavored jelly bellies would be good? (I don't think they have them do they?) Would you try them if they made them? Or even bacon flavored Twizzlers (okay that's kinda too weird)? (I'm not what you'd call experimental with her eating. But I'd probably try anything bacon flavored at least once.)

Okay, your turn. Favorites? Least favorites?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Am Not Awesome

Tina Lynn asked: are you so amazing? Come on, confess. Launched here in an escape pod by your parents during a nuclear apocalypse? Bitten by a radioactive spider? Given a ring that gives you the power to create anything you can imagine? It's only fair that you tell us mere humans so we can stop beating ourselves up for being less know?

Quinn also asked me this question, he just didn't know it. (Check out his post here.)

Okay, so it's totally fine with me if you want to label me with the Awesome Stamp.

I'm just not going to label myself with it. And here's why:

I want to live every day better than the last. I want to keep improving myself and my writing. The second I allow myself to think I'm awesome, I know that I'll slip.

I won't try. I won't work as hard. I won't improve.

And so while I'm glad you think I'm awesome, and I try to accept the compliment graciously, I do not want to think that about myself.

I don't want to think "all is well."

I want to be better today than I was yesterday. In all areas of my life, not just writing.

What about you? What do you tell yourself--or don't tell yourself--to keep moving forward?

And it was Edward, for the official record and all that. He used to watch me sleep in my bedroom. Now we stay up all night, him watching (forEVER watching) and me blogging and writing and tweeting and baking delicious blood brownies.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Pk Hrezo asked: How do you keep up with everything? I mean, really? Do you forget things? Or is your day all planned in Outlook?? (Google Calendar, but very, VERY close. And yes, I forget things, though I try really hard not to.)

Hannah Kincade asked: How do find the time, energy, skill, extra arms to do all of the things you do? I imagine you're like a Tasmanian devil just spinning and drooling in front of mutiple computers. Am I close? I mean, I want to see an actual daily plan. (Multiple computers? Caught! And I could email you my Google cal, but you might faint.)

Kerri C asked: How the heck do you manage kids, writing, and being a social web butterfly? (Read on...)

Theresa Milstein asked: What do you feel you need to sacrifice in order to work and to make time to write? (Many, many things. See below.)

Carol Kilgore asked: On an average day, how much time do you spend blogging and how much time do you spend writing? (Depends. Most weekdays, I read blogs for 2-3 hours. Writing...uh...depends.)

Abby Minard asked: with all the blogging, writing, emailing etc you do, how do you find a balance between that and your personal life? (I wear many hats, some on top of one another.)

Okay, so can you see a theme in these questions? They're all basically asking me how I accomplish what I accomplish. I've blogged about this before in various forms (time limits on certain things, blogging during lunch, etc.).

But the real answer is this: SACRIFICE.

Sometimes I sacrifice time with my family.
Sometimes I sacrifice making dinner.
Sometimes I sacrifice sleep.
Sometimes I sacrifice sanity.
Sometimes I sacrifice twitter/facebook.
Sometimes I sacrifice vacation time.
Sometimes I sacrifice weekends.

Sometimes I sacrifice you.

That's all there is to it. In order to do one thing, you must usually sacrifice another. You must choose.

That's why I make each choice as deliberately as I can. Because there are some things I'm not willing to sacrifice. And when I near that line, I pull back, sacrifice other things.

Choices, choices.

Because when I read your blogs, I'm not making dinner. When I'm involved in the twitter chats, I'm not spending time with my family. When I'm writing, I'm not sleeping, making dinner, or spending time with my family.

I am always sacrificing something. So I try to wear the hats I need to wear for the length of time I need to wear them, and then I take them off.

That's it.


What do you sacrifice to be able to write? What won't you sacrifice?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stripping Down

Dude, get your mind out of the gutter. Totally not that kind of stripping down. But today, I'm doing something I swore I'd never do. And I'm terrified.

See, I participated in the Debutante Ball, and several people said they were glad to get to know more about me. I was like, "Wha--? Everyone knows everything about me!"

I mean, it's not exactly like I hold back here on the blog. So yeah.

But then I realized that there are probably many things that my blog readers don't know about me. (The world doesn't only revolve around bacon. True fact.)

So today, one chance only, you can ask me a question. Or two. Or whatever. And in the future, I'll answer it.

Questions can be about me personally, or about Possession, or about writing, blogging, or whatever you want. I reserve the right to pretend like I didn't see your question if I don't want to give away things about my book and/or how much I weigh.


Ooo-kaaay. *cringes* This is so like stripping down to your bare bones and having people really see inside you. Really, really see inside.

But the comments are open...

Ask away.

And holy squee! You can win some Possession-related things on The League blog today. (Surely you've entered to win ALL FIVE of our books, right?) And Holy Mother of All Contests! Have you been to Beth Revis's blog? No? GO NOW.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Dude, you guys, up today for the Bookanista feature is THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY by Carolyn Kaufman. I think is such a HUGE resource for writers! I have a copy, and it is, in one word, brilliant.

I really liked how easy this book is to read. Anything you need to know re: psych, and this book is your resource. The go-to resource. And you can win a copy by leaving a comment on this post.

But first, let's explore the awesome that is THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY and the real brainz behind the genius, Carolyn.

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Avoid common psychology misconceptions and inaccuracies in your stories and start getting your psych right: The Writer’s Guide to Psychology!

What made you think, "I need to write a book like THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY?"
The media is packed with outdated information and inaccuracies about modern clinical and counseling psychology. Though there are a very few professional books detailing the problem, nobody was teaching the people creating the media – writers – how to overcome the problem. In other words, someone needed to say “Hey, what you think you know about clinical and counseling psychology -- disorders, diagnosis, and therapy, for example -- may not be accurate” and then take it a step farther and offer a solution.

So that’s what I decided to do.

The whole time I was writing, I kept in mind the way I got into psychology: I started taking psych courses in college to help me become a better fiction writer. Generally, the people who write books like mine are experts in their fields first and writers second. But since I was a writer first, I really appreciate all the ways psychology can be used to improve things like characterization and plotting, and I worked those details into the book.

What else are you working on? Secrets? Inside scoops? Give us the juicy stuff!
I’m working on a proposal for another book right now. Like this one, it will involve psychology for writers, but from a different perspective. I can’t say a lot more than that, other than that I hope it will be a nice companion to this book.

I have this feeling I’m slower at producing proposals than other writers, but I do tons of research ahead of time. I need to know exactly what’s going into each chapter, and that the information is grounded in solid research. I think that’s part of what makes this book (and what will make future books) unique – it’s not based in pop psychology, it’s based in empirical psychological research and practice.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
This is kind of a funny question to me, because “writer” has been the most enduring part of my identity for most of my life. In other words, I haven’t always wanted to be a writer – I simply always have been, the way I’m female or a brunette. I don’t really know how else to describe it.

With regards to publication, it didn’t really occur to me when I first started writing. It wasn’t until other people started suggesting it, and then that sort of became part of the dream. Writing has always sustained me on its own, though.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY was born of three loves: writing, psychology, and teaching. (I’m a psychology college professor by day). So writing a book to teach writers how to get their psych right was a very natural step for me.

When I write fiction, I write it for me. I would love to publish it, but I also just love writing. This book was different from that, because there was little point to writing it unless it was going to be published. A teacher needs students, or she has no purpose! I kept my readers in mind the entire time I was writing. Based partly on my experience as a professor and partly on my work with writers, I tried to anticipate questions and concerns while really digging into information writers can use.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to be a contestant on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
Are you kidding me? They won’t be able to throw me off the island fast enough. I’m taking my computer. ☺

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know.
I have a weakness for Pre-Raphaelite art. It’s kind of like your weakness for bacon. Speaking of which…

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
I do like bacon, but…definitely chocolate.

THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY is available from all the big and small online retailers like Though it isn’t out quite yet, a Kindle version of the book is coming soon!

You can visit Carolyn’s WGTP website for more information, including the media kit and a detailed table of contents, follow her on Facebook, visit her YouTube channel, or send her your psychology and writing questions at Archetype Writing, her website on psychology for writers.

And there you have it! Leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY. (And in case you were wondering, chocolate: 3, bacon: 0.)

Oh! And check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:
Christine Fonseca also recommends THE WRITERS GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY
Shannon Messenger raves about DESIRES OF THE DEAD and gives away the ARC
Megan Miranda gushes about REVOLUTION
Lisa and Laura Roecker present a special Guestanista review of PERSONAL DEMONS
Bethany Wiggins praises ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Working Hard

Okay, so a couple of friends and I really pushed each other through our writing in November. Two of us (Ali and I) were writing new words for NaNo. Christine was editing her second, fabulous, amazing, you-want-it-now book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (out May 1, 2011. Order yours now!)

We all had goalz. And we'd tweet each other to see when we were writing, and we emailed each night our final word count and last lines. (I like to see the lines out of context--plus, it made me write a really good line every time in case that was my last one and I had to email it off. No lie.)

I thought I'd be cool and put up our twitter feeds. But that got squashed real quick when I realized how much, um, work that was going to be. Ha!

Anyway, I wanted to talk about working hard today. In one of the tweets, Ali called me a workhorse. Last week, when I posted my jacket, Shannon commented that she knew all along that I was a vampire, since I don't sleep (I mean, how else do I get everything done that I get done?).

And I realized that I am a bit of a workhorse.

My husband said it best: "When Elana does something, she does it." (Said to a friend of ours.)

And he's right. When I do something, I do it. I work at it. And work at it. And work at it.

And then I work at it some more.

Because, let's face it, writing a book is a holy-truckload-of-workhorses lotta of work. If you didn't know this already, I suggest you quit before you start. You'll be happier, your spouse/significant other probably will be too. And your kids? Cats? Whatever? They'll be happier too.

If you're still here, if you've accepted that writing this book is probably going to take more time and effort than graduating college, then crack your knuckles...

...and get back to work! (lol!)

But in all seriousness, as per yesterday's post, I absolutely for-sure 100% believe that in the end, hard work trumps all.

"Bad" luck? Hard work can overcome that.

Self-doubt? Hard work can overcome that.

Vomituous first drafts? Hard work can overcome that.

Negative review? Hard work can overcome that.

Disappointment over rejection?
Wallowing in thoughts of "this is never going to happen for me"?
Scared someone else will beat you to a fresh idea?
Worried that you're running out of time?
Jealous that a friend got an agent/book deal/more money than you?

Hard work can overcome that.

Those who work hard, achieve.

I feel like that should be a quote from a famous person or something, so I Googled it. Nothin'. Dangitall. But I did find some other gems:

"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them." ~Ann Landers

"Luck to me is something else: Hard work." ~Lucille Ball

"There is no substitute for hard work." ~Thomas Edison

So don't give up. Work harder.

Have you seen the role of hard work in your life? How hard are you willing to work?

And don't forget to check out Badass Bookie's 2011 Debutante Event! All about POSSESSION today, including some quotes from the MC's. There're chances to win...not only my book, but 11 others too! So make sure you go check it out from now until December 31! (And thanks for visiting with me and Possession over there. You guys rock hard.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What I Believe

Dude, this isn't going to be like uber-religious or anything. I know some of you are quaking. Or hoping for something juicy. Sadly, there won't be either of those things. But don't stop reading!

1. I don't believe in signs. I believe in hard work.

2. I don't believe in wallowing. I believe in creating your own luck, and accepting luck you don't create. (See yesterday's post.)

3. I don't believe in hoarding knowledge. I believe in sharing and paying it forward.

4. I don't believe in waiting for something to happen. I believe in working hard. (Come back for tomorrow's post. And see #1.)

5. I don't believe in vampires. I believe in Edward. Ha! (Just checkin' to see if you were paying attention.)

6. I don't believe in isolation. I believe in whining, er, chatting with your writerly friends. And blogging. And tweeting. And then more chatting...

7. I don't believe in chocolate. I believe in bacon.

What do you believe? What don't you believe? 

Oh, and bonus: I'm up on Badass Bookie's 2011 Debutante Event today! All about me today, all about POSSESSION tomorrow. There're chances to win...not only my book, but 11 others too! So make sure you go check it out from now until December 31!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lucky Duck

Okay, so it's winter. Maybe that's why I've got my snark on. Or maybe it's because I've been writing in my super-sarcastic voice again. Or maybe...

Maybe it's because there are things in the publishing industry that aren't fair.

Maybe it's because luck plays a huge part in the journey from unagented to agented to acquired to published.

Maybe it's because luck is one of those things that we can't control. And so we flail and hope and cross our fingers and pray that we'll be on the right side of luck.

I don't want to discount the principle of hard work. I'm blogging about that later this week. But I firmly believe that luck is an important ingredient in the birth of a book. Let's examine.

You have to A) write a book someone wants. But you don't know what they want.

That takes luck.

You have to B) get that book you've worked really hard on in front of said person in A) at the right time. But you don't know what time that is.

That takes luck.

You have to C) get that polished MS in front of said person in A) before someone else out there subs a book that is similar. But you don't know when/if the others are subbing.

That takes luck.

So let's say you get lucky, and get an agent. (You've worked hard too. That's another post--so chillax.) Now comes the real luck-needing.

You now have to trust that your agent can get your book in front of someone who wants it at the right time (which you don't know and can't control) before another agent subs something (again, you don't know and can't control) similar.

Holy luck, Lucky Luck Man.

But that's not enough in publishing. Even if the editor loves it, they usually have to get a whole team of people behind the project too. Marketing people. Sales people. Publisher-type people. Higher-up editor people. And if you thought getting one person to say yes took luck, think how much it takes to get like, 10 to say yes.

Luck, luck, luck, luck, luck.

You needz it.

And just because you don't have an agent or a book deal doesn't mean you won't get one. You just have to keep at it until the luck gravitates to your side. It will. If you keep on keepin' on, if you work hard, it will.

It will. Trust me, it will.

What say you? How important is luck in publishing?

Oh, and if you're feeling lucky (or even if you're not), go check out Pam's blog! She's giving away POSSESSION!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jacket Weather

Okay, I've been writing my blog posts the night before this week. I'm sure you've all noticed. *snarf*

I had something else planned for today, but decided to put up some POSSESSION stuff instead. I hope you'll forgive me.

First, if you haven't seen this video, go watch it RIGHT NOW. It's only like 50 seconds long, and features one of my favorite people on the planet--Ali Cross.

Are you back?

Okay, ready for some awesome??

I got my jacket in the mail! It's SPARKLY. And SHINY. And holy-mother-of-pearlized-cardstock, I SPARKLE LIKE A VAMPIRE. (Turns out it's very hard to get the sparkle to come up on the computer. But it is sparkly, trust me. And if you click on the picture, it'll get bigger. And then if you zoom in on the bigger picture, you can sort of see my vampiric skin if you tilt your head and squint. Go on...try it. And the reason it looks a bit purple, brown, black, whatever is because of the SPARKLE. Seriously. (I scanned this picture, so it's from the real live SPARKLE.))

That is all.

Okay, one more thing. prplbookworm won MATCHED! I've emailed her. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

MATCHED by Ally Condie

Okay, so I was lucky enough to get an ARC of MATCHED.


I don't even have words for how this book made me feel. You know how you read something and you can just feel the power? And all these chills are racing down your arms because you know you're in the hands of someone who knows how to use words to spark something? And you know you're never going to go gently because the story has gripped you that much?

Yeah, reading MATCHED is like that.

I could go on and on about the story, but you should just buy and read it. I found it pretty amazing in a "quiet" way. That is in no way a slam--in fact, I wish I could write quietly and have the impact MATCHED has. Sadly, I cannot.

I thought the writing was brilliant. It was the actual way Ally spun the words to create an emotional web that captured me most about MATCHED.

So yeah. Buy it. Read it. Love it. It's out now, and you can get it pretty much anywhere--so go!!

And hey! You could WIN IT right here! Ally lives just a few minutes from me, and I'm attending her book launch on Saturday. So leave a comment here, and you just might get a signed copy you can call your own!

Will you go gently??

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:
Christine Fonseca recommends JOEY FLY, PRIVATE EYE in BIG HAIRY DRAMA
Shannon Messenger loves on ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and offers a Giveaway
Megan Miranda celebrates DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Lisa and Laura Roecker salute REVOLUTION
Suzette Saxton cheers for THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice

I know, I know. You're probably like, "Ugh, really?" Yeah, really.

You may or may not have heard of this whole it-takes-10,000-hours-of-practice-to-become-a-master thing.

I've heard of it. (There's an article here.)

I haven't spent 10,000 hours writing in the past three years. Therefore, I still have many things to learn. I have, however, spent a lot of time practicing.

In writing, though, I think it's more about how many words/novels you've written, than actual hours in front of the computer. I mean, let's face it, twitter and Facebook can hardly be counted as "practice."

So I decided to open up all my old manuscripts and add up the words I've written. This is in no way a formula to say that if you write this many words, you'll be a master. As I said, I still have much to learn.

But I have written 1,024,766 words. (And with titles like ELITE (I totally forgot about that one), PLACEHOLDERS, and PASSIVE ACCELERATION you know these are real winners, people. *lol*)

(And holy brown cow aside: That's over a million words. And it's no wonder. I opened my "working drafts" folder where I've saved everything I've ever written. There's a lot in there. Short stories (4). Complete novels (13). Incomplete novels (6). Not to mention the query letters, synops, etc. (which I didn't count) Dude. Yeah, that's all. Dude.)

I do think that with each book you write, you become a better storyteller. You learn where to place things. You get a "feel" for how you write, how you storytell, how you can craft a novel from words into meaning.

So you have to keep writing. Even if you don't finish the books (I have six I've started and never finished. They need so much work to even make them finishable, that I just quit. Am I a quitter? Absolutely.), even if they don't get published, they're still beneficial.

I believe this will every fiber of my being. Tiger Woods doesn't look back and go, "Man, I wasted a whole bunch of time practicing my putting."

We shouldn't think of our practice novels as wasted time either. They're practice. And we need 10,000 hours of practice before we're truly masters.

Guess I better get back to it. I have about 64,000 more hours to go...

Have you ever felt like your practice novels were a waste of time? How many hours have you practiced your writing? How many words have you written?

Also, go check out this new blog called "Dear Teen Me." I was lucky enough to be invited to participate, and I can't wait to read all the awesome from authors as they write letters to their teen selves.

See Elana's recent blog posts

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