Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Celebrating Indie Style

Okay, so today is the day to show independent bookstores some love. This is the brainchild of Lisa & Laura Roecker, and I do whatever I can to be all up in their brainz.

For my contribution to the "I heart Indies" celebration, I'm going to talk about The King's English. First, a picture:

Isn't that the cutest little house you've ever seen? Well, it is. And inside the house are all these books in all these different little rooms. My favorite is the children's room, of course.

I love the people at The King's English because when I ask them for a book recommendation, they know what to get me. And they know where it is in their store. They know everything.

I love The King's English.

What independent bookstore do you love?

Participate in this show-the-love fest by signing up on LiLa's blog. You can also tweet with the hashtag #IheartIndies on twitter.

And that's not all we're celebrating! Oh, no. I am having my launch party for POSSESSION next Wednesday at none other than The King's English. To show my support of them, I'll be buying a book there FOR ONE OF YOU.

That's right. A contest. Leave a comment on this post and you could win! What? A book. I don't know which one, but maybe we can work together on that, okay? Okay. Enter by Sunday at 10 PM MST and the winner will be announced next Monday!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why I Can't Blog Today

Dude, it was physically impossible to get to the laptop. And my PC upstairs won't let me log on to blogger. And my Mac from work is so freaking slow, it would've actually taken more time to boot that sucker up, open a blogger window (uh, hello? Does it take anyone else's blogger upward of five minutes of spinning before it finally works?), and write something coherent.

Instead, I'm going to be digging through, er, organizing this chaos.

Why yes. That IS my writing desk under there.
Aaaand, I'm in Las Vegas (!) so I can't really clean this up right now...

So yeah. Couldn't get a blog post ready. What keeps you from blogging?

And Happy Memorial Day! May your memories of your loved ones be sweet.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Everything You're Dying to Know

Yeah, as if my life isn't already a pretty open book. I mean, seriously. But today, Beth Revis and I got together for a little interview. And it's pretty awesome. Head over here to check it out!

Also, I'm hoping you're not sick of me yet, because I have a whole new blog tour starting on Monday. There will be a post, a video, a tens list, or something along those lines every day. I'm going to put the link at the top of my page, under my header, so you can check out all the amazingness at your leisure, okay? Okay.

*squee!* Release day is almost here!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD by Lindsey Leavitt

Dude, another contemporary novel! I don't know who I've become. A maniac! A maniac on the floor...

Anyway, today I'm gushing about SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD by Lindsey Leavitt. I really liked this book, hardcore.

But first...

About the book: According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

Okay, this book has several plusses.

1. Seinfeld. Need I say more? I loved this little detail that I could relate to. And they both like Seinfeld! Win/win.

2. The romance. It happened slowly, naturally, and very very real-ly. It wasn't love at first sight. And Sean wasn't this drop-dead gorgeous guy. He's cute, don't get me wrong, but it's more than that. It's the type of romance that actually happens in real life.

3. The angst of Payton is authentic. It wasn't too shallow or unrelatable. It wasn't forced. The character and the way she feels about her dad's disease was built brick by brick, layer by layer, and it was strong.

4. The voice. Lindsey did a great job with Payton. There's some funny moments, some romantic moments, some high adventure moments, some depressing moments, some angsty moments, and it's all done with great storytelling and fabulous voice.

I'm not sure how many contemporary novels I'm up to now. I know, I know. I said I was going to keep track. I will. As soon as I find my head. Ha!

But definitely add SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD to your list. You won't be sorry!
What have you read recently that you loved?

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week at the Reading Room.

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let's Hear It For The Boys!

Okay, so the blog tour is taking a detour over to An Avid Reader's Musings. I'm going to be spilling some secrets about the two guys in POSSESSION.

Funny story first: I asked Jenna to be on the blog tour back in January. She'd signed up on my form. She was enthusiastic. Then I went to New York and met her at a blogger lunch.

I didn't know it was her (cause I am lame). But she is fantastic, and was very complimentary of POSSESSION.

I get home, and start following up with people, and I see her post about POSSESSION on her blog.

I'm like, "What a second..."

I finally made the connection that I'd met her! Here we are at the restaurant in New York City. (And you can read her post about that here.)

Anyway, go check out this stop on the tour that deals with all things male.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reading Widely

Okay, so I've been stewing a lot about YA contemporary novels lately. I don't naturally gravitate toward them, but then when I read one, I'm amazed. And I've heard that you're supposed to read widely as an author, and well, I don't really do that.

I do remember reading LOVE YOU, HATE YOU, MISS YOU by Elizabeth Scott. Windy Aphayrath recommended her to me, and boy was she right on. I immediately followed that novel with LIVING DEAD GIRL. Wow.

I haven't read every one of Elizabeth Scott's novels, but I have PERFECT YOU waiting in the wings. And she has a new book coming out TODAY, and since I'm lucky enough to be on the Girlfriend Circuit with Elizabeth, she's here to answer some questions about her newest novel, BETWEEN HERE AND FOREVER.

Here's a bit about BETWEEN HERE AND FOREVER:
The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less: Small towns, secrets, family, learning to be who you are, falling in love (Wow, she's good. There are 67 characters left!)

Have you always wanted to be a writer? No--I started writing fiction on a sheer fluke when I was 27. (!)

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication? My friends, who kept telling me to go for it.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take? My husband and dog. :-) (Finally, someone who knows what Survivor is! Win.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate? I'm actually
allergic to both, so neither! (*gasp!*)

Thanks, Elizabeth! If you haven't read one of her novels, yet, please do yourself a favor. Get one. Read it. You can also follow Elizabeth's blog here.

So I've resolved to keep track of the contemporary novels I read this year. Do you read widely? Or do you find yourself stuck in the same genre?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing God

Dude, today we're discussing world building in science fiction and fantasy -- and POSSESSION.

But not here. Over on Jemi Fraser's blog. She's hosting me today while I dish about how I came up with the story world for POSSESSION.

I'll also be giving some tips to those of you who are contemplating playing the role of the ultimate Creator. Go check it out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guestanista Review of POSSESSION

Okay, so today on the POSSESSION pre-launch blog tour, we have Matt Rush. Sort of. He's over on his blog, dedicating his time and space to a grown man's review of POSSESSION. (*gulp*)

Here on my blog, we agreed to publish his teenage daughter's review of POSSESSION. (*double gulp*)

So here we go! I'm turning over the reins to Kylie, who is fifteen--and a straight-A student!

Possession by Elana Johnson is fast-paced, action-packed, and totally exciting. Seriously, it's like an Anime movie, guys.

Violet Schoenfeld, a troublemaker in a world of stupid rules, is a plot-perfect protagonist. In a dystopian society, Vi is not pleased with the strict guidelines, not pleased at all. She's outspoken, and has some rather suspicious capabilities. I loved reading her story because even though Vi wasn't the most experienced or knowledgeable person about her world, she still wouldn't stand for the rules, or she wouldn't take them sitting down, or whatever. She lived by her own set of morals, and followed her heart.

Possession speaks to any teen who feels oppressed by society (or their parents, or teachers) and I could really relate to the frustration Vi felt while just trying to be herself. I can't wait for the sequel. There is going to be a sequel, right?


Uh, I'm taking the fifth on the sequel issue. Thanks Kylie, for a great review!

I guess I better head over to Matt's blog to see what he has to say... Wait. I better put my bullet-proof vest on first...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MOONGLASS by Jessi Kirby

Okay, so I don't read a whole lot of contemporary YA. I don't know why; I think it's because a story is more exciting (to me) if there's the possibility that someone could be reading someone else's mind, or they could spontaneously throw flames from their hands. I mean, come on.

But MOONGLASS changed all that for me.

I loved this YA contemporary novel.

First a bit about the novel: When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother's mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love.

Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting a lifeguard named Tyler, she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandoned houses that dot the beach.

But when learning more about her mother's past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire for solitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.

I could name ten reasons why I loved this book, but ultimately it came down the authenticity in emotion that drove the nail home.

There's this scene at the end of the book, where Anna acted exactly the way I wanted her to, but not exactly the way most authors would've written it. That's when I knew I needed to give contemporary a fighting chance. Because of authors like Jessi Kirby who dared to write that emotional, gut-wrenching scene in the exact way it demanded to be written.

I even emailed Jessi to tell her. MOONGLASS is just that good. Buy it. Read it. Cry about it. Email Jessi.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week at the Reading Room.

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gadgets, and Gizmos, and Tech, Oh My!

I've revealed a little bit about the technology of POSSESSION, but for today's blog tour, I'll be going a little deeper into how I developed the tech for the novel.

And the best place for deep is on Shannon O'Donnell's blog. So that's where I am! Come check it out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Two-Fer

Okay, so there's more than two things, but everything else I tried for the title of this post sounded lame.

A couple of things I really want you to know about:

1. Simon & Schuster's "Something To Read About" Book Club Sampler. It is amazing--and not only because POSSESSION is one of the nine books you can feature for your book club. EVERY book has a note from the author, a novel-inspired recipe, the first chapter, and book club questions.

I'm in love with it so much, I changed my header to the banner for Possession. You can get the Sampler in several ways. Click here to get it on your Kindle from Amazon (I had it delivered to my smart phone). Click here to see the other easy ways to get the Sampler, including as a PDF file, right on your computer, or from one of the 8 e-retailers. (I, uh, did all three. *grins*)

Also, stay tuned for some more awesome with the Sampler! Plans for an epic giveaway are afoot.

2. I am doing a Live Query Event in conjunction with Dave Farland's Authors' Advisory Conference Calls. You can submit your query to Robin Weeks, the coordinator, and I will critique it beforehand and discuss it on the conference call that day! FULL DETAILS HERE.

3. The POSSESSION Virtual Launch Party!! Oh my heck, you guys. Ali Cross, Christine Fonseca, and Lisa & Laura Roecker have made the fansite into paradise. Go check it out. Mark your calendars for THURSDAY, JUNE 16 because we're going to be partying that day all over the universe. (Well, twitter, Facebook, blogs, the fansite...)

There will be a live chat with me that evening at 7 PM MST--plenty of time for you to get the book on June 7 and come armed with all your questions/concerns/reactions! There will be giveaways in the forums, on the chat, and on twitter that day.

Seriously. You don't want to miss this.

I think that's all for today. I do have more stuff, but I think there's only so much awesome a person can handle at one time. So yeah.

What should I have named this post? Got anything good? Have you ever had too much awesome? Is such a thing even possible?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Salted, Cured Meats

So you know I like them, right? You want to win some, don't you? And maybe an ARC of POSSESSION? And maybe some other cool stuff?


Well, then go here. It's Paul Greci day on the blog tour! (Thank you for hosting, Paul! And if you're not already following and reading his blog, you should be. Just sayin'.)

And make sure you come back tomorrow, because I have a ton of amazing things to tell you about!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Festivities

Okay, so there are so many amazing things afoot. That's right, I used the word "afoot." Anyway, I wanted today to be a celebration!

So up first: WriteOnCon

1. A super success story that WOC inspired. I seriously cried when I read this post, and you should too. Or maybe not. But go see what stemmed from one of our live events.

2. The next WriteOnCon live event will be Monday, May 16! That's like, 3 days people. We're hosting the Trifecta of Awesome with HarperCollins editor Molly O'Neill, literary agent Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, and the bestest literary agent ever (that's her official title, yo) Michelle Andelman. (Okay, I'm biased. So sue me.)

Click here for all the details.

3. The winner of Christine Fonseca's 101 SUCCESS SECRETS is... Melissa Sarno! Email me okay? Okay.

4. There's nothing like a little humiliation via video. And hey! I've made it easy for you. I signed up for VYou, where anyone can ask me a question about anything, and I'll record the answer via live video. (Remember that one post a while ago where I said I'd never vlog? What has happened to me??) Click here to VYou it up with me.

5. I'm also celebrating personally this week: I'm done with the conference season for a while. I'm getting prize packages together for my launch events. School is almost out. I have some very exciting things coming soon (a book trailer! Book club materials! An interview with my agent!).

All of this deserves a festival. So I'm festivaling.

What are you celebrating right now? I'm also throwing glitter that blogger is back up. ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Okay, so I'm sure most of you have heard of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. It's only #3 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

In case you haven't, here's a little summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

So it's dystopian. (win)

And first person, present tense. (win/win)

And a lot of other things I really like. Let's start a list, shall we?

1. Simulators. Dude. I love simulated stuff, and it's incredibly hard to write. I know, because I've done it. And Veronica does it brilliantly in DIVERGENT.

2. Cool names like Four. That's right. FOUR. How awesome of a name is that? And I thought Jag was neat. (Um, yeah. "Neat" is for seven-year-olds. #fail)

3. Fight scenes. In the novel, the MC, Tris, chooses a faction that focuses on fighting, so there's some major fight scenes in the novel. Dirty little secret: I sort of like it when people bleed.

4. The factions. I love that there are groups of people that the characters have to pick from when they're still teenagers. If you haven't taken the quiz yet to find out what faction you belong to, do it. (And if you ever meet Molly O'Neill, editor for this book, be prepared to answer. She'll ask you!) I chose Erudite when I met Molly, but my quiz labeled me as XXX.

5. The mother. So I don't think it's a huge secret that I love family relationships. The messier, the better, in my opinion. And I loved Tris's mother. She was strong, and soft, and wise, and kind, and everything I want to be in a mother. And that's some excellent characterization.

Make sure you get your hands on a copy of DIVERGENT soon. You won't regret it.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week at the Reading Room.

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Dude, I spend way too much money on iTunes, downloading the songs that really speak to me about my story and character.

The writing of POSSESSION was no exception, and Nichole Giles is here to tell you all about it.

Or rather, she's here to tell you all about it--on her blog. Go check it out, and don't judge me too harshly... No, seriously, please. And don't be drinking anything. You've been warned...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On Platform

Okay, so I did a presentation this weekend about building your blog into a platform you can stand on.

There are a couple of questions that always come up during the presentation:
1. What do I blog about? (I've answered that here.)
2. Does it work? (Meaning, if I put in all this time and effort and WORK to build my blog, will I get tangible results?)

I think people want me to tell them that yes, they'll get $25,000 more on their debut deal if they blog. Or that their publisher will give them a 9-copy floor display because they're obviously awesomesauce because of their X-number of followers.

But the fact is, I can't tell you that. The tangibility of an online platform is well, intangible.

I can tell you my beliefs.
1. I believe that certain elements of my marketing are enhanced because of my blogging efforts.
2. I believe that MTV asked me to blog for them because of my blogging experience here.
3. I believe that blogging has brought me more than $25,000 more on my debut deal. I've done what I set a goal to do: make meaningful connections.

And that's priceless.

Literary agent Sara Megibow also spoke at the conference. My absolute favorite part: She said something along the lines of "You have to figure out how to make your platform work for you. The answer is NOT not to have one."

And she's so right.

What do you think? Are you working on your platform? How's it going? What do you still need help with?

I will be on The Appendix, a writing podcast manned by authors Sarah Eden, Robison Wells, and Marion Jensen! And what are we talking about? Platform. Blogging. Go here. Subscribe through iTunes. Hear me tomorrow.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Writing Out Of Order

So today I'm going to be talking about my messing drafting habits. But not here.

HERE -- on Roni Loren's blog. Go check it out!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Getting Out Of Your Own Way

Okay, I sucketh at this. But you know how sometimes you're your own worst enemy? Your toughest critic? All that jazz?

Yeah, me too.

So here's the deal. I've been sending and receiving quite a few emails with some friends of mine. They are kind, and helpful, and oh-so-valuable to me.

One thing I read that really caught my eye was something along the lines of: You've done all you can do. Get out of your own way.
(This is not a direct quote, but it's what I heard in my brain.)

Wow. Just wow.

That was an awesome lesson for me. Sometimes I think creative people beat themselves up too much. We're just a little too hard on ourselves. We actually make life and writing and creating harder than it needs to be.

And who's that obstacle?

Ourself. (Is ourself a word? Sounds funny coming out of my mouth, but it's not underlined...)

So. Following the advice of Michael Jackson, take a good look at the man in the mirror. And ask yourself: What do I want? Am I working hard to get it? Have I done all I can do?

Am I standing in my own way?

Then get out of your own way.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

101 SUCCESS SECRETS by Christine Fonseca

Okay, so it's no secret that Christine is one of my best buddies. Even though we've never met, we've had an online friendship that's spanned years. And I know we'll meet one day soon.

Well, Christine's second book was officially released on May 1. And it's fantastic. But instead of listening to me (which I'm sure you're sick of), I'm going to let my 12-year-old son take the mic for a minute.

His review of Christine's 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids: I really like this book because it had many great tips and tricks to be successful in school and life.

I really liked one of the tricks it is called the Hula Hoop Trick. It says that you should imagine that there is a hula hoop on the ground and you can only control yourself which is inside the hula hoop everything outside of the hula hoop you can't control like what people think about you. I thought that was interesting.

I recommend this book to all gifted kids out there and parents and teachers of gifted kids. (I solemnly swear that I didn't edit this. Please tell me you can tell!)

And here's Christine with some of her favorite things!

So. You seriously need this book, and you need to follow Christine on twitter and her blog.

I am giving away a signed copy of 101 Success Secrets! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post by Sunday night. The winner will be announced next week!

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week at the Reading Room.

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Read the First Two Chapters of POSSESSION!

Okay, we're releasing the first two chapters of POSSESSION today! I'm beyond excited to share them with the world.

You can download the 25 pages in a PDF file by clicking here and looking for the big button that says "Read the first two chapters of POSSESSION here." (It's seriously a great big button on the front page.)


Also, I'm going to give a shout-out for my Virtual Launch Party that's taking place on Thursday, June 16. If you can't come to any of my live events, don't worry. There will be live content that day! And it's far enough after the release of the book that we can talk about all things POSSESSION! More details will be coming in a couple of weeks.

Okay, enough of me and my book. What's up with you guys?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


First, thanks for the great day yesterday! I enjoyed reading all your comment on Theresa's blog, and the excitement over the "Tag, You're It" contest was infectious.

Today, there are too. many. things.

1. MOONGLASS by Jessi Kirby is out today. You have to get this book. I'm doing a full Bookanistas review in a week or two, but I can't let today go by without mentioning MOONGLASS.

I *loved* this book. So go get a copy! You won't be sorry.

2. It is Dystopian Week on MTV's Hollywood Crush! I mean, what could be better? Oh, you want to know what my favorite dystopian reads are? Well, watch their blog--I'll be there at some point this week! (I know, I almost died too.)

3. Sarah Allen is giving me some blog space today. Go check it out! (This is not part of my official blog tour, but could be entertaining nonetheless. Who uses "nonetheless" in a sentence? And I totally spell out why you shouldn't start writing. Seriously. So click on over there.)

4. Have you iClued yet? You can win an iTouch with SIX NOVELS on it, including Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lisa & Laura Roecker's The Liar Society. I totally know who Seth's secret admirer is...

5. I am out of sour patch kids. This is a tragedy, trust me.

6. The winner of the first ever Bookanistas Give Back event is: Jennifer Lamoureux.

Yay! Congrats! You won the Dystopian Trifecta of Awesome Books of Awesomeness from me. Email me your mailing address so I can get these in the mail. elanajohnson(at)gmail.com.

What's your random today?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blog Tours!

Okay, so I'm sort of giddy (read: nauseous) about the next several weeks. Hopefully you won't get too sick of me. See, several fabulousities out there in the blogosphere have agreed to host me and/or my book on their blog.

Now, I don't take this lightly. A blog is a serious thing. People give time and effort to their posts. They have loyal readers. I'm hoping to add to their blogs as much as possible.

So each time I'm "stopping" on someone's blog, I'll link to it from here and turn off my comments. The entire schedule is below, and I've created a page here on my blog where I'll update the links and add the video content (yes, I said video content; get ready) as it goes live.

Today's kick-off stop is with THERESA MILSTEIN. So go there! I'll be hanging out most of the day, checking on the comments, and interacting with her commenters.

Can't wait for the rest of the tour. It's going to be EPIC!

Pre-launch POSSESSION blog tour:

The Teen {Book} Scene POSSESSION blog tour:
May 30 - June 17. More info here.

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget