Thursday, June 30, 2011

A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL by Suzanne Young

Okay, today I'm talking about a book I really loved. I mean, I talk about a book I love every Thursday, but A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL by Suzanne Young is wonderful. I enjoyed the writing. I loved the longing in the main character. I swooned over the softness in the male MC, Harley. I adored the not-run-of-the-mill ending.

And the premise! A brilliant premise that doesn't feel cookie-cutter or overdone. A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL genuinely read unique.

Okay, so you probably want to know what it's about now, right? Here's a brief synopsis, from the lovely Suzanne herself!

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is about a girl compelled to help people, even though doing so is slowly erasing her existence. (Nice. 25 characters left.)

And the official blurb: We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be forgotten.

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become—her mark on this earth, her very existence—is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny—no matter how dark the consequences?

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes. I was writing murder mysteries starring my friends back in junior high. I think a few of them are still floating around somewhere.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
A push from a family member. Otherwise I’m not sure I would have considered it possible.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
Dental floss. I’m an obsessive flosser. (Oooh, good one. I enjoy flossing more than the average person too.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
BACON. (Hallelujah! I swear I can feel the heavens opening up.)

So see? You must pick up this book at your favorite bookstore today! It's amazing.

I've also read about 12 books over the past week or so--I'm on a total reading kick. I've added most of them to my upcoming Thursday features. They're THAT GOOD. Are you in a reading high? A slump? What are you reading now that you've enjoyed?

Monday, June 27, 2011


Hey guys! This is me waving from hot and humid New Orleans! I'm going to be here until Tuesday, and in a rare fit of exhaustion, I've decided to take this entire week off of blogging. I will still put up my Bookanista post, mostly because it's already done.

Hope you have a relaxing ease into July and a happy Independence Day!

Catch you back here on July 5.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finding Your Flexibility

Okay, I've been thinking a lot about flexibility lately. Not in the like, the physical sense, because I haven't been able to pass the flexibility test since I was nine years old.

No, today is dedicated to a state of being flexible.

I think I'm flexible in certain areas of my life. In teaching, I'm extremely flexible. You need your class to make a table of contents and your class is waiting at the door? No problem. Wait, there's an assembly, and it started 10 minutes ago? No problem.

Teachers are nothing if not flexible.

I think I'm flexible in my parenting strategies. You want to take that trash out in 14 minutes? No problem. (But if you don't take it out in 14 minutes, I own your xBox.) You don't want to eat what I made for dinner? No problem. (Hey, I make dinner sometimes.) Make yourself a sandwich.

I guess I just didn't really realize how much flexibility is required in publishing a book.

I looked up some quotes, because I really like quotes.
"Be firm on principle but flexible on method."
~Zig Ziglar

I like this because often we read about how we should be writing, or how many words a day it takes to become an author. I'm here to say that I don't follow hardly any of them. Sometimes I read a book a day. Sometimes I go a whole month without reading. Sometimes I write 10 words a day. Sometimes 2000. Sometimes 0. My method is not yours, and yours is not mine, but we can all be working toward the same things.

"Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it."
~Brian Tracy

I really like this too. Do you know your goal? If so, allow some flexibility into your journey. Because authors have to be flexible. You might have to change something in your novel you're not thrilled about. You might have to wait longer than you'd like for your book to come out. You might have no control over the cover image, or the release date, or anything really, except the words of your story.

I think flexibility is the key. And those found in possession of it can open the door labeled "Not Freaking Out" and find a squishy couch to sit on inside. With cupcakes.

So, how's your flexibility?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire

Dude, today I'm featuring a young adult novel, HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire. I found this book to deliver something unique--time travel (or something very close to it)--in a genre where things are starting to blur together for me.

First, a little bit more about HOURGLASS: For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

My favorite parts:
1. Emerson -- she's a great character. Convincingly complex and conflicted about who to believe and what she can do. She's also smart and resourceful when she needs to be. I liked that.

2. The setting. I must be like, a true Southerner at heart or something. All the books I read that are set in the south captivate me (SHADOWED SUMMER by Saundra Mitchell, for one). I thought Myra did a good job with the setting, describing it enough for those of us who haven't actually been there, but not overdoing it.

3. The romance. I think it's a pretty well-known fact that I like books with kissing. So yeah. HOURGLASS has some kissing, and it makes me very happy. Ha!

So add HOURGLASS to your list if you haven't picked up a copy yet. You won't be sorry.

What about you? Have you noticed a trend in the kind of books you like (Southern settings, anyone?)?

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

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Blog Post That Isn't Really a Blog Post At All

Okay, so I had something epic planned for today, and well, it didn't pan out. Maybe next week. Maybe never. That's the best part about publishing = there are always surprises around the corner.

And since I'm currently in "summer mode" and/or catching up on forums and/or prepping for a phone call tomorrow and/or panicking about ALA, this is the blog post you get.

Just for fun, here's a little snippet of a chat from last night:

Me, Tuesday 8:03 PM: Yeah, so now I have to find something to blog about. No idea.
Her, Tuesday 8:07 PM: Um... something about being flexible? Lol
Me, Tuesday, 8:09 PM: Spew! I also need something for Friday. I am so over flogging right now.
Me, Tuesday, a few seconds later: Flogging!!!!! LOLOLOL
Her, Tuesday, 8:20 PM: Flogging, bwahaha.

Yeah, the story of my life.

I can't even think of a question to go along with this non-post. Maybe... is blogging like flogging? Sometimes? Maybe?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Okay, so this isn't really a book teaser. It's more of a chat teaser. See, I have a couple of upcoming chats I want you to know about.

1. Thursday, June 23 at 7 PM. This chat is all about query letters. How to write them, my thoughts on some previously submitted queries, and just general advice about literary agents and querying.

This chat is part of David Farland's Author Advisory Conference Call program. You can find out more here, including how to call in and be part of the chat! If you submitted your query letter, I'm thinking we'll have time to get to them all.

Also, you can always get my eBook, From the Query to the Call, for free on my website.

2. Wednesday, June 29 at 7 PM on the FallenArchAngel fansite. POSSESSION is one of their picks for Featured Fiction this month, and I'll be there to chat Wednesday night about the book, about writing, about whatever! So mark your calendars and come.

3. If you missed the live chat on UStream last week, you can click here to see it. That's one of the best things (and worst things) about the Internet. Once you say or do something, you can watch it over and over. And over.

And that's been my summer so far--planning these things and whatnot.

How is your summer shaping up so far? Hope to see you at one of the chats!

Monday, June 20, 2011

In It To Win the War

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot about what it takes to "win the publishing war," and I finally got my thoughts to congeal while watching (okay, listening to--I was admittedly on the computer) a documentary on the Civil War.

Someone said, "Robert E. Lee wasn't looking to win another battle. He was trying to win the war."

I liked that. Sometimes it is about the battles. We tell ourselves we can rest when the next scene is done, or when we've written 1000 words for the day. Those are battles. Because there are a lot of things competing for our time.

But in the end, we're not looking to simply win battles. We want to win the war. And that takes a little bit more than just writing and revising.

It means submitting. I've known a few authors who are afraid to submit. I don't know if this is you or not. But if it is, you've got to get your armor on, write that query letter, pick up your helmet, polish your manuscript, and submit.

You can't win the war without submitting.

You also can't win the war if you don't finish a book. So if you find yourself "battling" with the same pages over and over, maybe you should leave them in the dust and finish the book. Then you can go back to the battle with the goal of submitting in mind.

That's how you win the publishing war.

So are you fighting battles in the hopes of winning the war? Or are you editing the same pages over and over again?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

FAIRY BAD DAY by Amanda Ashby

Today, I'm thrilled to have Amanda Ashby here on the blog! She's here to give us a little more information about her new book, FAIRY BAD DAY.

It’s going to be a fairy bad day.

First, my rightful designation of dragon slayer is STOLEN right out from under me by Curtis Green. Sure, he’s really cute, but that doesn’t give him an excuse.

On top of that, I am assigned to slay fairies. I know what you’re thinking—how hard could it be, right? Wrong! These menacing beasts with their tiny hipster clothes and mocking sarcasm love taunting me. And they won’t STOP!

But the thing that tops my list of stuff to ruin my day? That would be the GIANT KILLER FAIRY that I have to hunt down and slay because I am the only one who can see it. There is someone who can help me. Unfortunately…it’s Curtis.

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
When Emma's dragon slaying spot is stolen from her, she's pretty sure that thing can't possibly get worse. Emma’s wrong!

What people are saying:
"Teens with a taste for the paranormal school story and a tolerance for raucous humor will be involved with and amused by this romantic fantasy. The exciting plot, humor throughout—often provided by the little fairies—and relatively innocent romance between characters will grab readers and keep them involved. " Kirkus Reviews

"In a fun mashup of the modern and the magical, Ashby (Zombie Queen of Newbury High) creates nicely developed characters and supports them with strong plotting and zippy writing. Laced with humor, danger, and romance, this book will have readers smiling all the way to the last page." Publisher's Weekly

“Great fairy fun from page one! If Buffy and Harry Potter got together and threw a magical slayer party, it would be the world Amanda Ashby created in Fairy Bad Day. With plenty of laugh-out-loud humor, emotional depth, and cute boy romance, reading this book will guarantee your day is fairy awesome.” Tera Lynn Childs, award-winning author of Oh. My. Gods. and Forgive My Fins

"Fairy Bad Day is fairy awesome supernatural slaying fun." Stacey Jay author of You are So Undead to Me and Undead Much

"I really liked that no matter how mad Emma wanted to be at Curtis, she just couldn't stay mad—not with those beautiful brown eyes and that lopsided grin. I loved the cover design, it really drew me in. This was a very good book and I would highly recommend it." School Library Journal Vanessa, age 12

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. I have always loved reading and I’ve always been good at creative writing but I honestly didn’t know that regular people could become authors so I actually studied journalism but I knew fairly early on that it wasn’t a good fit (the essence of journalism is to be concise and factual. So. Not. Going. To. Happen). Every now and then it would bother me about what would happen if my favorite authors hadn’t written my favorite books and I finally had an epiphany and realized that I wanted to write a book. It all felt quite sudden and the moment I said it, I sat down and wrote my first novel in a month. It was completely awful but, as most writers know, once the seeds are planted, we don’t tend to leave them alone!

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
From the moment I had my epiphany I’ve always chased publication. In fact it amazes me the number of hopeful authors who write books and then don’t try and submit them anywhere. I guess some of it is fear, but I never felt like that. I just wanted to get it out there!

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
MP3 player (I don’t watch Survivor so I’m hoping that this is allowed because I will play dirty if my MP3 player is taken off me!)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?

Thanks for stopping by Amanda--and I can't wait to read FAIRY BAD DAY.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Exhaustion Is A Good Thing

Phew. Okay, so the POSSESSION party was amazing! You guys never cease to amaze me. From the winners on twitter, to the many questions in the forum, to the fun live chat, I had a total blast.

And I am now exhausted. But it's a good thing. It means I've done some work. I always feel like this after writing or editing too. So yeah. Exhaustion. It's a good thing.

Today, I'm just going to announce the winner of the prize package from yesterday. If you won, please email me at elanajohnson (at) gmail, so I can get your mailing address.

POSSESSION prize package: Amber! Congrats.

Also, if you left a question in the forum or on the chat, and we didn't get to it, I'll be answering those on my blog in the near future. And if you entered to win a prize package on the forum, those winners have been announced over there.

So. What exhausts you this fine Friday?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Okay, so today is the virtual launch of POSSESSION! So many of you have helped to shape my journey thus far, and I wanted to celebrate with everyone, not just my friends and family here in Utah.

Thus, the POSSESSION online party was born!

Today, you can win any number of things, in any number of social medias.

1. Twitter: There will be three prize packages to be won on twitter today. Tweet using the hashtag #POSSESSIONparty from 8:30 - 9:30 AM Mountain time (10:30 AM Eastern). Then again from 12 - 1 PM (2 PM Eastern). And once more from 5 - 6 PM (7 PM Eastern).

The prizes for the twitter contests will include book and swag packages from the Elevensies, some Utah authors, and a dystopian package. Watch the #POSSESSIONparty thread for details.

2. Inside the Resistance fan site: There will be three prize packages to be won in the forums of the fan site. Each has it's own thread, and all you need to do is go over there and comment in the thread of the package you'd like to win.

Prizes include book and swag packages from the Bookanistas, the Elevensies, and a dystopian package.

Also, anyone who asks a question in the "All About Elana" forum will be entered to win:
1. A 30-minute Skype chat for your book club. (1 winner)
2. A 30-minute Skype chat for your writing group. (1 winner)
3. A 30-minute Skype chat for your classroom. (1 winner)
4. 15 winners will get to choose a song from the Vi song list, the Jag song list, or the Zenn song list.
5. All who post a question in the forum will get a swag package mailed to them. All you have to do is go to the "All About Elana" forum, ask a question, and then fill out the form in the "Claim Your Swag Package" thread.

Fansite website:

3. On the blog: Right here, right now, you can enter to win a POSSESSION package, with some Bookanista swag!

Prize package includes:

  • Signed hardcover of POSSESSION
  • Character items: sunglasses for Zenn, a choker for Jag, and a bar code bracelet for Vi.
  • 2 “tagged” stickers
  • Signed POSSESSION bookmark
  • Signed ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (by Beth Revis) bookmark and bookplate, an ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy pin
  • Signed POSSESS (by Gretchen McNeil) bookmark and POSSESS-inspired temporary tattoo
  • Signed LIKE MANDARIN (by Kirsten Hubbard) bookmark and postcard
  • Signed TEXAS GOTHIC (by Rosemary Clement-Moore) bookmark
  • Signed MOONGLASS (by Jessi Kirby) bookmark
  • Signed AUDITION (by Stasia Kehoe) bookmark
  • A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE (by Matt Blackstone) bookmark

Just leave a comment here and be a follower, and you could win! This contest closes at midnight tonight (one day only!) and is open internationally.

4. Simon & Schuster UStream live chat: It's tonight at 7 PM Mountain (9 PM Eastern) here. You can log on and ask me questions or just chat!

Hope you'll come party with us all over the place today!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WiP Wednesday

So I answer a lot of interview questions. One I get quite often is "What are you working on now?"

Well. Remember that post a couple of months ago where I had a dream about a guitar-playing, resistance-inspiring Beth Revis?

Yeah, I'm writing that.

Sans Beth, of course, but still.

I'M WRITING THAT. It's dystopian. It's fantasy. It's YA. It's fun to be writing again.

Who knew? Here's a little WIPpet:
I finger the scrap of paper in my dress pocket. It speaks of something I’ve heard rumors of. Whispers. I’ve seen a pamphlet once or twice, and immediately torn it up or tossed it in the incinerator.

This time, though, I kept the paper. Sure, I was about to throw it aside when my eyes caught the word “music.”

I’ve been carrying it for days. Tonight’s the night of something called a sing-in. I still haven’t decided if I’ll go or not. A deep gulf inside of me desperately wants to. The sensible girl inside says, Forget about it, Echo.

I listen to her too much.

But I don’t have the strength to override her.

What are you working on right now?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Virtual Launch Party

Okay, so if you want to come to an event and "meet" me, but you don't want to stand in this line...

My signing line at the live launch party = stretched to the street, and beyond!

Then the POSSESSION Virtual Launch Party is for you!

The details, as short and specific as I can get them:
1. Thursday, June 16.
2. All day.
3. There will be a post here on the blog for a prize package. You'll have to comment and follow to enter.
4. There will be 3 giveaways on Twitter, at random times during the day/night. (**I realize some of you aren't on twitter. Sorry. You can still enter the contest outlined in #3.)
5. We'll be tweeting with the hashtag #POSSESSIONparty for the prize packages. Watch the thread for the giveaways to begin and end! Winners will be drawn from that stream.
6. A keynote speech via vlog on the fansite.
7. A live chat on the Simon & Schuster UStream channel at 7 PM Mountain time (9 PM Eastern).
8. A forum where you can ask questions--every person who asks a question will be entered to win some amazing prizes! We're talking Skype chats for your book club, your classroom, and/or your writer's group. And songs that inspired Vi, Jag, and Zenn. And book prize packages! And swag! Lotsa swag.
9. Since POSSESSION is out, the forum is the place to talk about it! The characters, the world, and the ending. You know you want to talk about the ending...
10. Okay, I don't have a number 10. Wait, yes, I do. Go here and click on "Forum" to register so you can participate in the discussions, ask questions, and be entered to win the prizes!

Questions? Concerns? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Authors Are Real People

Well, now that POSSESSION is out into the world, I hope you're ready to settle back into just, well, this.

"Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."

Exciting, I know.

I've been thinking a lot, and you all know what that leads to. That's right: blog posts.

Today's is about book reviews/feedback. See, now that my book is out there, I've been getting some feedback. Let me clear about a couple of things:

1. I don't read reviews. I'm too emotionally intense. If I think it will be a good review, I *might* click on it. Or if you're my friend, I *might* click on it. I'm grateful for all the reviews, good--bad--whatever, but I just can't stomach reading them. (Don't hate me!)

2. The Internet is virtual, but I'm still a real, live person.

That said, I've been getting feedback. This usually comes in the form of an email. And it's not all good. I'm not saying it has to be, but I'm wondering at what point do people realize that authors are, in fact, real people (as stated in #2 above)? At what point do you, as readers, keep from sending an email to an author, and instead just talk to your real, live friends about the book you may or may not have liked?

I don't want to discourage anyone from emailing me, ever. But surely readers understand how much work goes into a book. How many hours. How many buckets of tears, and countless sleepless nights, and maybe even 20 (okay fine, 25) extra pounds.

Readers do know that authors slave over their books, right?

I'm not saying they have to like it. I'm not even saying they shouldn't voice their opinions--whether positive or negative. I am a voracious reader, and when I love a book, that's when I *might* email an author.

So yeah. I don't know.

So what am I saying? I'm not really sure. Maybe just that I am a real person, too.

Do you view your "friends" on the Internet as real people? Do you view authors as breathing humans, with feelings and goals and families? Or has this virtual world made us less sensitive?

DON'T FORGET: The POSSESSION virtual launch party is this Thursday, June 16. Festivities are happening all day long here on my blog, on twitter, and on the fansite. Don't miss out!

Click me. I'll take you to the fansite.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Five

Okay, so it's been an amazing launch week. For more information on that, you can check out my post on the League blog today.

I'm going for short here, because really, I'm out of brain cells.

1. Eating out every day is not as fun as it sounds. I know, shocking. But still. I'm ready to eat in.

2. This picture from my launch party:

Top: Danyelle Leafty, Christine Fonesca, me, Jenn Johannson, Ali Cross, Windy Aphayrath
Bottom: L.T. Elliot, Carolyn Vawdry, Nichole Giles

3. So You Think You Can Dance = you should be watching. I love this show. I'm so glad it's summer so I can watch it.

4. Another great thing about summer. Sleeping in. And tennis. And doing whatever I want. School is out baby! I love teaching, but I love not teaching too.

5. Mark your calendars for...

Saturday, June 11, 2011 2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Booksellers

University Crossings Plaza
330 East 1300 South, Orem, UT

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Virtual Launch Party

Online at: Inside the Resistance, the official POSSESSION fansite.
**You guys, the prizes for this are AWESOME. Please come! I'll be doing 4 giveaways during the day, opening the party with a vlogged speech, a forum for any writing and/or POSSESSION-related questions, and a livestreamed chat that night at 7 PM Mountain time.

Come armed with questions, comments, and your smiling personalities! I'll be blogging more about this next week, but you can go to the fansite and get all signed up for the forums so you're ready.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 7:00 PM
Live chat with Elana
on the FallenArchangel site (the official fansite of HUSH, HUSH)

I've been terribly absent from the blogosphere this week. What are the five highlights of your week?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris (And a Poultry Battle)

This requires no introduction. Seriously. But it is a Bookanista video for Veronica Roth, NYT bestselling author of DIVERGENT. What faction are you in?

And neither does this book, but it's going to get one. BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris. Let's examine:

Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Okay, we can stop there. I mean, that is just seriously awesome. This is not your typical zombie book, either. It's zombies on the football team.

Let's continue: Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town . . . and stay hormonally human.

Things done well:
1. The characters. Kate is a smart girl, who uses her brainz to solve the mystery. She's not above physical activity, but she definitely has more brain than brawn, and isn't afraid to use it.

Jonah is also well-done, a perfect little brother for Kate. I just realized this is the second week in a row that I've talked about sibling relationships. They just mean a lot to me, I guess.

2. The writing. Carrie does an amazing job with the humor and wit. And that kind of funny writing is hard. Trust me, I've tried. The storytelling pulls the reader along, guiding without the reader knowing. And that takes talent.

3. The concept. I mean, did you read that first line??

This is not your typical zombie book. Get it (it's not out until July 12, so pre-order it). Read it. Love it.

And I hope you'll forgive me, but it's 1:00 AM after my launch party, so I'm not going to do the links for the other Bookanistas today. If you're dying, go here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Launch Day Madness: Picture Proof

Dude, holy bar coded cows! Yesterday was amazing. So many blog comments. So many twitter messages. I knew that if I didn't consciously decide to stay offline, I would feel this great need to respond to them all.

So I decided to stay offline for the most part. I appreciate the book birthday wishes and all the comments and everything. I did read them all.

Today, I present you with picture proof of what actually happens on your typical launch day.

Up first: tennis. Bright and early at 7 AM. This is me afterward, in my unshowered condition.

Next: breakfast. My husband with his hot chocolate. He was all like, "Take my picture with my face covered with cream." #keeper

Wha? It's BACON.


After eating: the bookstore. In the window, at the local Barnes & Noble.

On the shelf at the local Barnes & Noble. It took a few minutes to find them, and I was seriously getting nervous. But there they are!! I didn't cry, for the record.

Off the shelf at the local Barnes & Noble. I thought, "They have SIX copies! Yay!"

We shopped a bit, and were going up to buy the books, and I stopped short and said, "OH MY HECK, THAT'S MY BOOK." There was a whole display at the front of the store!! We'd walked right by it coming in. (We were focused on the Nook, in our defense.)

The whole family. My husband sold a copy to the girls taking our picture. I signed it. :)

After that, I went to the spa to get a hot stone pedicure. I got blue polish and butterfly decals!

Then: Dinner with writer friends!! Christine Fonseca, me, Jamie Harrington. One word: epic.

And my favorite: A card from my six-year-old daughter. I get a little teary when I see it, and I'm currently using it as a bookmark. <3

Tonight, I'm participating in the launch party of amazingness. There will be prize packages and talking and music and cookies. If you're in the area, please come! It's at The King's English (1511 S. 1500 E. in Salt Lake City). If you're not in the area, mark your calendars for the virtual launch party, which will take place on my fansite ( on Thursday, June 16. All day, so be prepared!

Thank you again for all the well-wishes and whatnot. I swear I won't be blogging about my book forever.

Also, planning a release day takes time. What will you do on yours? Because you will have one. Oh, yes, you will.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Which I Give You My Baby

I've written this post a thousand times inside my head. Nothing sounded right. I filmed something. I deleted it. I've spent sleepless hours trying to figure out which words, and in what order, could adequately explain what today means.

I haven't been able to.

See, I wrote a book a long time ago. Three and a half years ago, actually. Many people read it and offered advice. It endured eight months of query hell. Survived revision after revision.

Then, finally, this book found a home. It got a shiny cover, and beautiful words printed in pink on the front. Early copies traveled the world, and sat on bookshelves, and kept people up at night reading.

I cried over this book.

I laughed. I screamed with joy. I ate bacon in celebration.

I worked. Oh, how I worked on it. I tried. Oh, how I tried to get every word in exactly the right spot.

Since October, that work has been done. And I've been waiting for months to share it with you. Many of you have been here every day, following and experiencing every bump in the road, every curve of the track. To you, I want to say thank you.

The words feel inadequate, weak, unable to hold how much I really appreciate the friendships and emails and camaraderie I've felt from you, my lovely blog readers.

But they'll have to do.

Thank you.

And with that, I find that I have nothing left to say about this book. Nothing left to do for this book.

Except one thing: Give it to you.

And so I will. Today, I will.

POSSESSION is yours. I hope you enjoy it.

If you want to participate in the launch of POSSESSION, you can! Ali Cross, Nichole Giles, and Windy Aphayrath made it easy for you. Sign up below and write a post on your blog about a time when you broke the rules.

Three lucky winners will win a signed hard-cover copy of POSSESSION.

Monday, June 6, 2011

POSSESSION Celebrations!

Okay, so I know I already blogged once today, but this week is jam packed with fun stuff, and I don't want you to miss out!

1. Natalie and Casey at Literary Rambles are hosting a fabulous POSSESSION giveaway and interview. They're gifting copies of POSSESSION and need your comments to up the prizes. So go check that out.

2. Tomorrow is POSSESSION's book birthday! If you don't have a Tuesday post, maybe you can sign up on Ali, Nichole, or Windy's link list and discuss which rules you've broken. (There are a lot of rules in POSSESSION. The first line is: "Good girls don't walk with boys." So yeah.)

3. Have you been #tagged? Well. Christine, Beth, LiLa, Jamie, Shannon, and Ali can do that for you! You can also win one of 15 signed copies of POSSESSION. Go here for details, and @chrstinef on Twitter to get your own #taggedPOSSESSION avatar!

They also have amazing vlogs and contests going up each day on their blogs. Here's the list:
Monday: Visit Beth Revis's blog for 2 more chances to win POSSESSION
Tuesday: Visit Lisa & Laura Roecker's blog for 2 more chances to win POSSESSION
Wednesday: Visit Shannon Messenger's blog for 2 more chances to win POSSESSION
Thursday: Visit Jamie Harrington's blog for 2 more chances to win POSSESSION
Friday: Visit Christine Fonseca's blog for 2 more chances to win POSSESSION
Saturday: Visit Ali Cross's blog for 2 more chances to win POSSESSION
Sunday: Stop by any of the blogs to find out the winners of the 5 signed copies for the Spread the Word contest!

Thanks for indulging me in this regard. I <3 you all.

The Energy We Spend

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot about where I spend my energy. My time. My brain cells. See, my time is getting more and more pressed, and I have to be very careful about using too much of it on the wrong things.

And I have decided that the "wrong things" are anything that brings negativity into my life. There are better things I can devote my energy to. That's why I write only positive reviews on Bookanista Thursday. That's why I leave as many encouraging comments on as many blogs as I can. That's why when people ask for help, I give it if I can. To anyone. Agented or unagented. Published or unpublished. Homeless or Homeful. It matters not to me.

I just think there's enough negativity, enough tearing down, enough scorning and scoffing to bring even the most optimistic person into a downward spiral of depression.

I refuse to add my voice to that.

I choose to spend my energy on those things that are uplifting. For me, for my family, for those around me, for my interactions on the Internet.

Just because there are screens between people doesn't make the words we say to one another any less hurtful.

The Internet is a public place. You can have your opinions; I have mine. I choose to only make the positive opinions public. The negative ones my husband hears all about. *wink*

What do you think? Where are you spending your energy, and what do you think people take away from what you say and do?

Also, the winner of a book of their choice from #IHeartIndies day is Theresa Milstein! Email me, T.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Q: Will POSSESSION have a sequel? A: YES!!!

Sort of. Okay, not really.

But POSSESSION will have a companion that will be published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) in Summer 2012. A lot of you haven't read POSSESSION yet, so I don't want to spoil too much.

Here's the Publisher's Marketplace deal: Elana Johnson's FUGITIVE, a companion to POSSESSION, again to Anica Rissi at Simon Pulse, for publication in Summer 2012, by Michelle Andelman at Regal Literary (NA).

Doesn't tell you much, does it? *lips zipped*

Okay, I will spill a couple of things:
1. FUGITIVE (companion novel, tentatively titled) is set in the same story world as POSSESSION.

2. There are two new narrating characters that you'll get to follow and experience some wicked control stuff with.

3. You will see some characters from POSSESSION on the page in FUGITIVE, so there are sequential elements in the companion novel.

4. No, I will not tell you who you'll see. But...

5. Someone flies.

6. Someone lies.

7. Someone dies.

Okay, enough secretz!

The real question is: Should I celebrate with bacon, sour patch kids, or Big Macs? Hmm...decisions, decisions.

And holy brown cows, Batman! There is an amazing POSSESSION contest going on right now via Ali Cross, Christine Fonseca, Beth Revis, Lisa & Laura Roecker, Jamie Harrington, and Shannon Messenger! CHECK IT OUT.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton

Okay, so today's bookanista post delves back into the fantastical. The magical. The bloody.

That's right. Bloody. BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton, to be exact. There were a lot of reasons I liked this book, but the first was the magic.

Let it be known that I love magic. I love thinking about magic, and I wish I could do magic. For real. But without having to cut myself and drip blood onto stuff.

See, that's what happens in BLOOD MAGIC. Here's a little synop: Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can't stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What's a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there's Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.

So there's blood and there's magic. I could take one without the other, but Tessa does a good job of not making it too gory.

The reason I loved this story was because of the characters and the relationships they have. Let's examine.

Silla. I liked Silla a lot. If you know me at all, you know I like broken characters. And Silla is busted into a million pieces, what with the death of her parents and all. I won't spoil anything, but there's another death that is just fantastic. That came out wrong. But it's real and perfect, and I'm glad that it happened, even though I didn't like it when this person died.

Nicholas. I liked Nick too, he's just not as fragile as Silla. He narrates too, so it gives an interesting perspective, and the two stories are expertly interwined, and I enjoyed that too.

Reese. He's Silla's brother, and I loved their relationship. It was at times messy and complicated, at times very sibling-ish, and at other times best friend-ish. In short, it was very well done.

The villain. I won't tell you who it is, because that would spoil the whole mystery of it. Let me just say that there were 3 possible suspects for me, and just when I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. And that, my friends, is some darn fine mystery storytelling right there.

So if you haven't heard of BLOOD MAGIC yet, add it to your list. You won't be sorry.

And spill. Do you like bloody books?

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

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Deep Inside Jonathon Arntson

Okay, so today is the last pre-launch blog tour stop for POSSESSION! I hope you've had a good time over the past month, learned something new about me or Possession, or just won something cool.

Today, I'm at Jonathon Arntson's (whose name I still never spell right), answering some questions his blog readers asked me. And it's not too late! You can still ask me stuff. I'll be hanging around there all day.

It is freaking exciting, so get excited, and get over there!

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