Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Of Awesome

Okay, so today is the Scavenger Hunt of all scavenger hunts. Thus the capital letters. There is some exclusive one-day only material right here on my blog, and there’s a link at the bottom that will direct you to the next stop on the hunt.

First, since there’s likely to be some new visitors here, I’m going to introduce myself. This feels weird on my blog, but whatever. My name is Elana Johnson, and my debut novel, POSSESSION, just came out in June. It’s a dystopian novel set in a brainwashed society, where one fifteen-year-old girl doesn’t like other people telling her what to do. (I have a new widget with links to pretty much everything you need!)

As part of this Scavenger-Hunt-of-Awesome, I’m offering a contest here on my blog today. You need to fill out the form here to enter to win a POSSESSION prize package (detailed in the form). You'll need to hunt for my secret content in order to complete the form. I'm very excited for my exclusive content, so go scavenge!!

Also on this hunt you will be able to gain access to exclusive bonus material, sign up for giveaways, and get an all access pass to top secret insider information. This fabulous sneak peek into what’s coming up in YA literature is for one day only!

As an extra bonus we’ve put together a puzzle with one keyword found on each website. Complete it and you will be eligible for a fantastic GRAND PRIZE which will include signed editions of books, signed bookmarks, jewelry, and many more exclusive gifts with at least one from EVERY AUTHOR!

Scavenger Hunt Puzzle:
Directions: Search for keywords, one on each website that will be highlighted in red, and insert them into the puzzle. Then fill out the Google form here.

Rules: To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit this filled in puzzle before midnight on August 1st Pacific Time. All the keywords must be in the correct place, and the form must be completely filled out. I've put the puzzle below so you can start working on it.

Welcome fans of young adult literature! Don’t forget to _______ up in time to join our special event! In ____________ you roll the dice and, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Our scavenger hunt is very similar. Surprises wait around every corner. Turn one page and you’re chasing a _________ through a _________ _____________. Turn another and you are being ________ by a _______ which leaves your heart ________. YA ________s are full of ___________ heroes who must ___________ themselves for the greater good. Some of the characters travel through ______ or have a _________ __________. If there is one thing YA books have taught us, it’s that if you leave your ___________ keep an eye out for a patrolling ________. They’re very dangerous. Maybe not so frightening as a ____________, but still you should be careful. Also beware lest you become __________ by vampires. ______________ one is a different story. Just remember that bite has ___________ ramifications and that afterwards the sun can ______ you unless you get bitten by a glittering type. Whether you like dark, paranormal, romance, fantasy, ___________, Sci-Fi, or a combination of those, we’ve got something for you.

We think that each fan is a __________ and we love you all!

As if that weren't enough, I'm hosting Sophie Jordan (squee!) who is here to reveal some exclusive content about her newest book, VANISH (coming on September 6).

First a bit about Sophie: Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.

Visit her on her website.

And a little about VANISH (which I've read, and holy cow, people! It's fantastic!!): To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will's memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family's. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride's heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

Sophie has delivered for you today, an excerpt from VANISH! Enjoy!

Sometimes I dream of falling.

Of course, I start out flying in these dreams. Because that’s what I do. What I am. What I love.
A few weeks ago, I would have said it’s what I love most in the world, but a lot has changed since then. Everything, really.

In these dreams, I’m racing through the sky, free as I’m supposed to be. And then something happens because suddenly I’m descending in a tailspin. I clutch air, my screams eaten up by angry wind. I plummet. A human without wings. Just a girl, not a draki at all. Powerless. Lost.
I feel that way now: I’m falling, and I can do nothing. I can stop none of it. I’m caught up in the old nightmare.

I always wake before I hit ground. That’s been my salvation. Only tonight I’m not dreaming.

Tonight I hit the ground. And it’s every bit as painful as I expected.


I rest my cheek against the cool glass of the window and watch the night rush past me. As Cassian drives, my eyes strain through the motionless dark, skimming over rock yards and stucco houses, searching for an answer, a reason for everything that’s happened.

The world seems to hold its breath as we slow for a stop sign. My gaze drifts to the dark sky above us. A deep, starless sea beckoning, promising sanctuary.

Mom’s voice drifts from the backseat, low and crooning, as she talks to Tamra, trying to coax a response from her. I peel my cheek from the glass and glance over my shoulder. Tamra shivers in Mom’s arms. Her eyes stare vacantly ahead; her skin, corpse pale.

“Is she okay?” I ask again, because I have to say something. I have to know. Did I do this to her? Is this, too, my fault? “What’s wrong with her?”

Mom frowns and shakes her head at me like I shouldn’t speak. I’ve let them both down. I broke the unbreakable rule. I revealed my true form to humans—worse, hunters—and we will all pay for the mistake. The knowledge presses on me, a crushing weight that sinks me deep into my seat. I face forward again, trembling uncontrollably. I cross my arms, pinning my hands at my sides as though that might still them.

Cassian warned me there would be a reckoning for this night’s work, and I wonder whether it’s already begun. I’ve lost Will. Tamra is sick or in shock or maybe something worse. Mom can hardly look at me. My every breath is misery, the events of the night burning inside my eyelids. Me, shedding my human skin and manifesting in front of Will’s family. My desperate flight through crackling dry air to reach him. But if I hadn’t manifested—hadn’t flown to Will’s side—he’d be dead and I couldn’t bear that thought.. I’ll never see Will again, no matter his promise to find me, but at least he’s alive.

Cassian says nothing beside me. He did all the talking he needed to do to get Mom in the car with us, to make her understand returning with him to the home we fled is the only viable option. His fingers hold tight to the steering wheel, his knuckles white. I doubt he’ll relax his grip until we’re free and clear of Chaparral. Probably not until we’re safely back in the pride. Safe. I strangle on a laugh—or it could be a sob. Will I ever feel safe again?

The town flies past, houses thinning out as we near the edge of town. We’ll be gone soon. Free of this desert and the hunters. Free of Will. This last thought claws fresh the already bleeding wound in my heart, but there’s nothing to be done about it. Could there ever have been a future for us? A draki and a draki hunter? A draki hunter with the blood of my kind running through his veins.

That part of it all still stumbles through my head, refusing to penetrate. I can’t close my eyes without seeing the flash of his shimmering purple blood in the night. Like my own. My head aches, struggling to accept this terrible truth No matter how valid Will’s explanation, no matter that I still love him, it doesn’t change the fact that the stolen blood of my kind pumps through his veins.

Cassian exhales slowly as we leave the city limits.

“Well, that’s that,” Mom murmurs as the distance grows between us and Chaparral.

I turn to find her looking back through the rear window. She’s leaving all her hopes for a better future in Chaparral. It’s where we were making a fresh start, away from the pride. And now we’re headed back into their midst.

“I’m sorry, Mom.” I say not just because I should, but because I mean it.

Mom shakes her head, opening her mouth to speak, but gets nothing out.

“We’ve got trouble,” Cassian announces. Straight ahead, several cars block the road, forcing us to slow.

“It’s them,” I manage to utter past numb lips as Cassian pulls closer.

“Them?” Mom demands. “Hunters?”

I give a hard nod. Hunters. Will’s family.

Glaring headlights pierce the dark and illuminate Cassian’s face. His gaze flicks to the rearview mirror and I can tell he’s contemplating turning back around, running for it in the other direction. But it’s too late for that—one car moves to block our escape and several figures step in front of our car. Cassian slams on the brakes, his hands flexing on the steering wheel, and I know he’s fighting the impulse to mow them down. I strain for a glimpse of Will, sensing him, knowing he’s there, among them somewhere.

Hard, biting voices shout at us to get out of the car. I hold still, my fingers a hot singe on my bare legs, pressing so deeply—as though I were trying to reach my draki buried underneath.
A fist bangs down on our hood.

Cassian’s gaze locks with mine, communicating what I already know. We have to survive. Even if it means doing only what our kind can do. That very thing I already did, that got us in this jam tonight in the first place. And why not? It’s not like we can reveal our secret more.

Nodding, I move, climbing out of the car to face our enemies.

There you go! I know this was a very, very long post! I hope you enjoyed the exclusive content from VANISH author Sophie Jordan.

I hope you caught the word in red...

I hope you copied and pasted that purple paragraph up there, and that you'll visit all the blogs and websites today, looking for the red words to complete the scavenger hunt. When you do, you'll find my exclusive content somewhere...

And then you can enter to win the grand prize that will include something from every author in the hunt!

Don't forget to enter to win a POSSESSION prize package (detailed in the form)--it's as easy as finding my exclusive content out there on the hunt, and then filling out the form.

Oh, and here's the link you need to take you to the next blog on the YA Scavenger Hunt of Awesome!

Good luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

GCC: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Okay, so up today, I'm hosting Jennifer Echols, a Girlfriend on the Cyber Circuit, with her new book! Make sure you come back to my blog on Monday, where I'm hosting one leg of the most fabulous YA Scavenger Hunt you'll ever see! There will be an author here. Something secret and exclusive. And the chance to win about a billion amazing prizes!

And now onto the interview with Jennifer.

JENNIFER ECHOLS is the author of teen romantic dramas for MTV Books and teen romantic comedies for Simon Pulse. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family. Please visit her online at

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Always. I did have other early interests--I loved to paint, and my first major in college was music--but even before I was an English major, I thought I would write a novel someday.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
During the Civil Rights Movement, my grandmother wrote beautiful short stories about the changes the Deep South was going through. She sent one of these to the New Yorker, and when she got rejected, she never submitted any of her work again. She was a terrific role model. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t be a writer like her. But I also knew that her writing *could* have been published if she hadn’t given up so soon. I vowed not to take no for an answer. (Brilliant!)

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
My Kindle! I can access Wi-Fi to download more books, right? (Uh, yeah, I think so...)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
Chocolate, but I would not turn down the bacon either. (Yesss!)

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Erin is writing about Hunter for creative writing class. Hunter is writing about Erin. And everybody is reading between the lines.

From Jennifer Echols, the award-winning author of Going Too Far and Forget You, comes LOVE STORY (Gallery Books; July 19, 2011; $11.00), a provocative and powerful story of teen romance, set against the bustling world of a New York City university.

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions – it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter… so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter… except this story could come true.

I love the sound of this book, especially the "Everybody is reading between the lines." Isn't that so how life is?

I've added this one to the list, and hopefully you will too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HUMAN.4 by Mike A. Lancaster

Okay, so another sci fi today, and this one is great. I had HUMAN.4 sitting on my table for probably two months before I picked it up. I didn't know what it was about, because I make it a point NOT to read the backs of books before I read. I want to go in cold.

So I hadn't heard of HUMAN.4 and I didn't know what it was about. That's probably why it took me so long to pick it up. Because once I did, I couldn't stop. It's a very fast read, complete with a well-fleshed character and compelling storytelling.

I guess I'll tell you a little bit about it.

Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

I mean, dude. DUDE. The last book I read that was narrated on tapes was Thirteen Reasons Why, and I loved that book too.

And this is futuristic recordings on tape. Win/WIN. I thought the plot was smart; the author feeds the reader in perfect-sized bites of information, pulling them along to the conclusion. And I'm a fan of smart storytelling and smart plotting.

If you like science fiction at all, you'll like HUMAN.4. you like science fiction at all? What's your favorite sci fi read?

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

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Dude, I have an ARC that everyone needs to read.

It's SHIFTING by Bethany Wiggins. I was lucky enough to get a copy from her publisher at ALA.

Let me just start off my saying that I love Bethany. She's been a friend of mine for a few years now, and we sold our books at the same time. SHIFTING comes out on September 29, and I'd like to do an ARC tour for her over the next two months.

If you'd like to participate in this tour, I've made a Google form for people to sign up.

First, a little bit about the book, so you can decide if this is even something you'd like to read. (And trust me, it is.)

After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

Isn't that cover gorgeous?? I love how blue-gray it is, with that green snake... Creeptastic.

Second, I'd really like as many people as possible to be able to read SHIFTING, and I'd like the participants to blog about the book after they've read it. So you have to commit to reading really fast, mailing to the next person priority mail ($4.95, free envelope), and then blogging about the book and what you liked about it.

If you can do all of that over the next two months, click here to sign up.

What book are you eagerly anticipating in these last several months of 2011?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who Says?

Exhibit A
Okay, so I'm a huge fan of Selena Gomez. I've been watching Wizards of Waverly Place for a couple of years now, and she's so great on that show. (Although I will admit that my obsession with Wizards may or may not but definitely does have to do with David Henrie, and how he's basically Jag in real life... See Exhibit A.)

But Selena has a new song out called Who Says? I loved it the first time I heard it, and immediately downloaded it for the iPod. Then I listened on repeat.

There's some great lyrics in the verses, but it's the chorus that really gets me --right--here--

Who says?
Who says you're not perfect?
Who says you're not worth it?
Who says you're the only one that's hurting?
Trust me,
That's the price of beauty.
Who says you're not pretty?
Who says you're not beautiful?
Who says?

I always think of the chorus as speaking to my manuscript and the time it takes to get it ready for anyone to read. Who says it's not worth it? Who says I'm the only one bleeding through my eyeballs to get the words on the page in the right place?

That's the price of beauty (in writing). And who says my books aren't pretty (in the end)?

So yeah. I think drafting and revising is really hard work. Sometimes it feels like too much work. That it's not worth it. But it is. Keep at it.

And then the bridge (I really have no idea if this is, in actuality, the bridge, but you know):

Who says you're not star potential?
Who says you're not presidential?
Who says you can't be in movies?
Listen to me, listen to me.
Who says you don't pass the test?
Who says you can't be the best?
Who said?
Who said?
Would you tell me who said that?

During this part, the song moves from talking about my MS to talking about ME. I think sometimes we tell ourselves that we're not star potential. That we don't pass the test. That we can't be in movies.

I think it's easy to read a rejection as "You're not good enough. You can't be in movies." It's easy to see someone else's success as "I'm not star potential." We take a critique as "You don't pass the test."

But who says all that?

We do. (Usually.)

We've got to stop that, and keep working hard. And that's why Who Says? by Selena Gomez has been played about 476 times in my iTunes.

What song really hits you hard? Motivates you? Makes you cry and then determine to work that much harder?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Awesome Is Coming

Not the WriteOnCon awesome, because we already announced that whole win-$1000-thing. You missed it? Click here.

Not any of the awesome that was last week, what with all those ARC giveaways. I mean, that was cool, but... oh, I still owe you a winner for THE NEAR WITCH, yes?


Okay, the winner is: TheJay2xA

Congrats! Email me at elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com with your email address and I'll get this in the mail.

And now onto the awesome that will be taking place next Monday, August 1. Colleen Houck, author of THE TIGER'S CURSE, has organized a scavenger hunt where YA authors are going to be unlocking the vault on some exclusive material for one day only. (Click here to see more details on Colleen's blog.)

That's right. 24 hours of awesome.

You'll get the day to go around the Interwebz and find all the cool stuff. Many authors are giving away prizes and books in conjunction with this amazing scavenger hunt, so be sure to come back here on Monday, August 1, and you can start the hunt from my blog.

You can also start the hunt from any of these author's blogs: YA authors Josephine Angelini, Angela Corbett, Andrea Cremer, Kady Cross, Heather Davis, Bree Despain, Clare Dunkle, Marley Gibson, Abbi Glines, Colleen Houck, Tara Hudson, Alexandra Monir, Lisa Nowak, Gregg Olsen, Amy Plum, Beth Revis, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Inara Scott, Sophie Jordan, Lani Woodland and more!

I'm not going to tell you what my super-sekrit part of the hunt will be, but I will say that there will be a POSSESSION-related prize!

So, guesses as to what my secret content will be? What "extra" would you like to see from authors?(Not just me.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Giveaway Week, Day Whatever-It-Is

Up first: The winner of the subscription to Danyelle Leafty's serialized novel, THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA is: Natalie Aguirre!!

Congrats! Please email me at elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I'll get your information to Danyelle.

And if this week hasn't been awesome enough, I present you with...

Today, I give you an ARC of THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab. I loved this book, and I'll be featuring it during Bookanista Thursday very soon. Just believe me when I say you want it. Badly.

Here's a bit about it, since you might not know, since it's not out yet: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

To enter:
1. Leave a comment here by 10 PM Mountain time. (1 entry) Yes, it's that easy.*
2. Blog about this contest TODAY. (I am not doing twitter or facebook or Google+ or anything else. A blog post. You will get 1 entry for the blog post.)

That's all. I'm not doing a Google form or anything. Winners will be drawn from the comments of this post, and if you blogged about it, say so(!) so I can count you for 2 entries, okay?

Okay. The winner will be announced on Monday.

And since the title is THE NEAR WITCH, I have a "magic" related question: Have you seen Harry Potter yet?? Because holy Firebolts, Batman. You should get on that.

*All followers, old and new, will get an additional entry, but it is NOT required to follow my blog to win. Of course, I hope you do, because sometimes I say funny things, and give stuff away, and talk about books and bacon and any number of Adam Lambert hairstyles... So yeah.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Giveaway Week, With A Fairy-Special Guest Post

Up first: The winner of the signed ARC of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler is: Riv Re!

Congrats! Please email me at elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I'll get this bad boy in the mail.

And there's more amazingness to come! Today, I welcome Danyelle Leafty, author of the serialized novle, THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA. She's here to give us a little insight on character, from one of her characters. Take it away, Danyelle! (Or should I say Myles...)

ife and magic are both very messy arts. A great deal of precision is needed for both of them, but the results, no matter how carefully you measure and mix the ingredients, don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

That’s where mistakes come in.

To most people, mistakes are blots on their credibility. Stains on their very best suits they wear on formal occasions— every day. (There has been some argument, but I maintain that living is a very formal occasion. You’re required to appear in only your finest, carefully primped and polished to hide the freckles and frizzy hair beneath all the fine layers of veneer Society deems necessary.)

To me, a carefully brushed suit that looks like new is worse than an old smock so full of stains you can’t tell the original color. Those stains are badges of honor, because they mean you made mistakes.

And making mistakes means you tried your hand at something.

In my eighteen years, I’ve made a great many mistakes. The ostrich legs, for instance. I’d meant to magik my sister so she would be quick on her feet and wouldn’t want for any attention. Unfortunately, instead of turning into a social butterfly, she turned into a girl with ostrich legs. Technically, she was very quick on her feet and was certainly the center of attention, but not in the way I meant. She still hasn’t forgiven me.

And then there were the birds.

I had come to the king’s city to cram some more magical theory into my repertoire in hopes of being accepted as an apprentice on the council of mages. I had holed myself up in a corner, determined to learn Demetrius’s Silver Swallows’ Song. It was long and complicated, with a number of rare ingredients, and most of the words in the spell had at least five syllables. If I could pull it off, my apprenticeship would be secured.

So was it my fault the Grand Duchess of Baronsfeld, sister to the king, and general tyrant at court, made a habit of sticking her very long nose in every corner she came across? Was it my fault she demanded an explanation for the powders spilling out of my satchel, staining the carpet? And was it my fault, after I managed to magik up a single silver swallow, that she demanded I perform the spell at her afternoon tea the next day?

But that’s the thing with mistakes. A great many of them fall in a pile together, and when you add magic, the results tend to be . . . interesting. My mistake was practicing magic outside my study and for not turning her into the rabbit she resembles. Her mistake was poking around where she wasn’t wanted and then assuming that if a person could conjure up one silver swallow, they could probably conjure up a whole flock. During teatime, with only the very finest Immaculate Suits in attendance.

Another thing about mistakes is that once one—in this case, a great many—has been made, most people immediately try to pin the blame on someone else. (In my defense, I had no idea the birds would be driven mad at the sight of all the shiny things the Immaculate Suits wore. And I never would have guessed the flock would have attacked the grand duchess’s guests in an effort to secure the shiny pretty things.)

But that’s the thing—how can a person learn without making mistakes? They can’t. And by virtue of not making mistakes, they continue in the same path as always, never deviating from it.

A world without mistakes would be a very safe, dull, flat world without any color or life. What would be the point? Now, I’m not advocating running through the streets after a rainstorm in an effort to secure as many stains and spots on yourself as possible. To make mistakes for the sole purpose of making mistakes, or to keep making the same mistakes over and over again is the height of folly.

A mistake is worth nothing if nothing is learned from it.

So, today, I ask you to embrace your mistakes. Don’t hide them in the deepest cupboard you have. Brush of the dust and the shame and the fear of them, and savor the feeling that you attempted to do something greater than simply exist. Mistakes are the very fabric from which our world is woven. There can be great success from simply making enough mistakes to narrow down the field until all you’re left with is the right answer.

Mistakes tell stories, and stories tell people. Let yourself live and breathe and try and fail and try again. You never know when you’ll stumble across a mistake that will change the very reality of your world.

~Myles van Reuthvan of Greenshaven

Danyelle Leafty writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog. Her serial novel THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA can be found here. You can contact her here.

About THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA: Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail.

Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all.

Click here to see the full blog tour.

Thanks, Danyelle! As an extra bonus, Danyelle is giving away one ebook subscription to a random commentor. Just leave a comment on this post by 10 PM Mountain time, and I'll announce the winner--when I will have yet ANOTHER giveaway in a rare Saturday post!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young

Okay, so today's book is the second part of why the next book I write is going to have the word "red" in the title.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young. It's a dystopian novel, so that right there thrills me. I love a good dystopian novel.

Here's the lowdown on BLOOD RED ROAD: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Why I Liked It:
1. Saba is a fantastic character. You can't help but root for her along every twist and turn of the story. She's fiercely loyal, something I really like. She's determined, a quality I like in girls. She's multi-faceted, which kept me turning pages.

2. The language. Okay, I'll freely admit that at first, I didn't think I could read the book. It has no quotation marks. None. And there's a ton of slang and dialect (I guess that's what it's called). But I vowed to give it 100 pages and if the manner of language and dialect and lack of quotations bothered me, I'd quit.

Well, I didn't quit. After about 30 - 40 pages, I barely noticed those things. It's written in a conversational-enough style that the things I thought were drawbacks, weren't.

So put BLOOD RED ROAD on your list! If you like dystopian stories, this is one you must read.

What's the last book you finished reading that you started out thinking "Oh, man, I don't know..."?

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

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giveaway Week, Day Three of Like, Like

Up first: The winner of the signed ARC of FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater is: Vivien!

Congrats! Please email me at elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I'll get this bad boy in the mail.

So I went to the pool again yesterday, and I felt all bad about it. To make myself feel better, I'm offering another prize today! Gotta spread the summer love where we can, right?


Be sure to check back every day--especially if you enter. If you don't claim your prize by the end of the week, I'll draw a new winner.

So today, I give you a signed ARC of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler! That's right! Signed by both of them! This book doesn't come out until November 21, so yeah.

Here's a bit about it, since you might not know, since it's not out yet: It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on--and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

Now you get why this post was titled with a "Like, like," don't you? ;)

To enter:
1. Leave a comment here by 10 PM Mountain time. (1 entry) Yes, it's that easy.*
2. Blog about this contest TODAY. (I am not doing twitter or facebook or Google+ or anything else. A blog post. You will get 1 entry for the blog post.)

That's all. I'm not doing a Google form or anything. Winners will be drawn from the comments of this post, and if you blogged about it, say so(!) so I can count you for 2 entries, okay?

Okay. The winner will be announced on Friday.

And since the title is THE FUTURE OF US, I have a "future" related question: If you could, would you want to see the future? Know what's coming to you, good or bad?

*All followers, old and new, will get an additional entry, but it is NOT required to follow my blog to win. Of course, I hope you do, because sometimes I say funny things, and give stuff away, and talk about books and bacon and any number of Adam Lambert hairstyles... So yeah.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Giveaway Week, Day Two of Awesome

Okay, so you entered the WriteOnCon event of awesome, right?

If not, click here to find out more. And you realize WOC is only a few short weeks away, yes? I'm sort of freaking out about it, especially since I wrote this entire week's blog posts on July 10 in an attempt to get ahead before my edits came.

And WriteOnCon is coming in just a few short weeks! Aaahhh!

But that is not why we're here today. Oh no. I have another sch-weet contest for you.

Yeah, that's right. I hereby declare this giveaway week here on my blog! June was a crazy-busy month, and I've been enjoying July. Staying up late. Writing for a couple of hours each day. Going to the pool to read.

And someone should benefit from that.


I will be doing some giveaways this week. Each one will only be for one day only, so be sure to check back every day--especially if you enter. If you don't claim your prize by the end of the week, I'll draw a new winner.

So today, I give you a signed ARC of FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater!

FOREVER came out last week, and it is fabulous!

To enter:
1. Leave a comment here by 10 PM Mountain time. (1 entry) Yes, it's that easy.*
2. Blog about this contest TODAY. (I am not doing twitter or facebook or Google+ or anything else. A blog post. You will get 1 entry for the blog post.)

That's all. I'm not doing a Google form or anything. Winners will be drawn from the comments of this post, and if you blogged about it, say so(!) so I can count you for 2 entries, okay?

Okay. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

And since the title is FOREVER, I have a "forever" related question: If you had to re-read only one book FOREVER, which one would it be?

*All followers, old and new, will get an additional entry, but it is NOT required to follow my blog to win. Of course, I hope you do, because sometimes I say funny things, and give stuff away, and talk about books and bacon and any number of Adam Lambert hairstyles... So yeah.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giveaway Week, Day One of OH MY HECK, IT'S WRITEONCON!

There is no better way to start a week. Let me illustrate:

Okay, do we have your attention? Good. WriteOnCon has teamed up with to bring you a VERY special contest to kick off the 2011 Conference.

A first 500 MG/YA words contest. Grand Prize is $1000 AND a chance to have your work considered for representation from literary agent, Catherine Drayton. I AM NOT KIDDING.

When? Contest opens today, and submissions close August 18th. Winner will be announced Thursday, September 8th during a special LIVE WriteOnCon Chat.

Why? Because we love you.

So here's how it works.
1. Starting today, email the first 500 words of your completed MG/YA manuscript to
2. After the conference, a team of individuals will vote on all entries and narrow the submissions down to the TOP 5.
3. The TOP 5 submissions will be posted on where EVERYONE can vote.
4. Requirements? You must be a member of The Reading Room to enter. Click here to take care of that.

The grand prize winner will receive $1000 cold, hard cash in the form of a gigantic check in the form of a regular-sized check AND a chance for Catherine Drayton to consider your work for representation.

Amazing, right?

So, really, the only question left is, what would you do with $1000? We're talking about it on twitter! Help us spread the word by answering the question with this link: and hashtag: #ifIhad1000 and be sure to tweet @ Catherine Drayton! Her handle is @cjdrayton.

Sample tweet: "#ifIhad1000 I'd fill my fridge with bacon! What would you do with $1000? @cjdrayton"

Click here to read TheReadingRoom.Com Official Competition Rules.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter, Dude--HARRY POTTER

I don't really think I need to expound on this, but I'm going to anyway.

I'm a little bit of a freaky (not that you guys didn't know that) about some things.


Adam Lambert's hair.

Reality TV.

You know, the usual.

And that's where Harry Potter comes in. I love the books, and I love the movies. And today is the last day there will be a release date for either the books or the movies. Sure, there might be special edition this, or collector's blah blah that.

But it won't be something we haven't seen before.

So today, I salute J.K. Rowling for the genius that is Harry Potter. Who would you salute for genius?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier

Dude, I have determined that the next book I write is going to have the word "red" in the title. I read BLOOD RED ROAD after RUBY RED and adored them both.

Up today is RUBY RED. I cannot adequately explain how much I loved this book. I started reading it, and immediately got a Cornelia Funke vibe. So I flipped to the back to find out more about the author, and what do you know? Kerstin is from Germany too!

I think I need to go there to figure out how to write in such a compelling manner.

First, a little bit about RUBY RED: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My take: This book has it all. Great writing, a compelling heroine, and a unique premise. It's time travel in a sea of YA novels where surprisingly time travel is strangely absent. In fact, I stumbled upon this book's existence while in New York.

My agent and I went to Books of Wonder, a children's bookstore on 18th Street. I fell in love instantly, of course. But the true gem was a girl named Kayla. She asked me if I needed help finding something, and I said I wanted a YA time travel novel.

She said she couldn't think of anything, we chatted, and she left. A few minutes later, she came back with a card with Ruby Red written on it. At the time, the book wasn't out yet. No problem; it's not like I don't have enough to read.

But when I got home, Kayla had emailed me, saying she had an ARC of Ruby Red, and would I like to borrow it?

Uh, yeah.

RUBY RED is a fantastic novel with complex characters. Gwyneth is done masterfully, with enough of a hint at romance for a kissing-fanatic like me. She worries about the right things. She thinks through the consequences.

And the time travel is refreshing. (See, I'm a sucker for things time-related. I'm a bit obsessed with time.) Intriguing, with just enough information given to keep the reader going. Kerstin Gier is a master-writer. I think I'll book my ticket to Germany now.

Readers who like Cornelia Funke (and who doesn't??) will like Ruby Red.

Are you interested in time travel? What have you read that is a bit off the beaten path, but incredibly well-done?

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

Or on their blogs:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drafting, Drafting

Okay, so I recently started drafting another novel, and for me, it's equivalent to a race. A sprint. When I draft, I draft.

Usually I can fly through a novel in a matter of days, but the amount of work it takes to clean that up later is astronomical.

This has kept me from drafting anything of length in quite a while. See, recently I've wanted my writing to be perfect when I draft it. I don't want to have to go through the pain of revisions to fix it. (Which makes no sense, because I really like revising!)

Anyway, I'm trying something a little bit new for me during the drafting stage.


In the past, I've highlighted things in yellow that need more thought/attention. That's it. So I draft, writing writing writing, and anything that needs more thought than I can give it at the time gets highlighted.

Well, in addition to that, I'm ballooning myself too. So I have some highlighted things (like the name of a city that needs more thought) and this time I'm also writing notes to myself.

So on page 97, when I realize that I need to spend more time in the previous pages mentioning a character I've forgotten about, I balloon myself a note.

Or when I've written a previous scene completely wrong because I've forgotten about someone's ability, I balloon it so I can go back and fix it later.

See, I'm all about drafting a whole novel before fixing anything. In the past, I've merely noted it mentally and moved on. I'm sure you can imagine how that's ended.

So balloons. It's my new drafting technique. So far, so good.

What tips and tricks do you have for drafting?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ALA Recap

Holy mother of all shiny things. I went to ALA, my first big conference, and it was one of epic magnitude.

I think pictures can say it all:
The view from my hotel. 

POSSESSION in the S&S booth! What great neighbors. (And a totally surreal experience.)

After dinner by myself (boo hoo), I met up with people! Real people--like PJ Hoover!

And Shannon Messenger. NO LIE.

And my agent-mates and friends, Kirsten Hubbard and Kate Hart.

Then we went to an S&S event: a dessert reception. That's Jo-Somebody (I seriously can't remember her name! Elana FAIL), me, Shannon, and my editor, Anica Rissi.

Sunday, on the floor at ALA. 

Sunday night, socializing at the swanky W hotel. L-R: Michelle Hodkin, Jessica Martinez, me, Shannon Messenger, Carolina Valdez-Miller, Kirsten Hubbard, Kate Hart, Kari Olsen, Jessi Kirby

Monday morning Bookanista breakfast. (Jessi Kirby, Carol Miller, me, Michelle Hodkin, Shannon Messenger)

Monday: Jessi and I on the floor--by our books!

Monday, I had a signing at Octavia books. This is the display when you walk in. Corey thought I was weird because I said the store smelled like books. But it did! So many bookstores smell like coffee. Octavia was books through and through.

The group signing at Octavia. Me, Jenny Han, Jessi Kirby, Corey Whaley.

Monday night, I had a debut author event with teen librarians. Here's the panel set up. Possession is in the center.

The other debut authors: Top, Jenny Han, Corey Whaley, France O'Roarke Dowell, Michelle Hodkin. Bottom: Jessica Martinez, Jessi Kirby, me, David Hinton

Me, signing for librarians. LIBRARIANS. The nicest people on the planet, BTW.

The debut author books on the floor.

Simon Pulse people at the debut author event. That's my publisher, Mara, me, Jessica Martinez, and our editor, Anica Rissi.

Last day beignets. We stuffed our faces, what can I say?? Cristin Moor, me, Jessi Kirby, Carol Miller, and Sara McClung.

Have you ever met up with your Internet friends? Been to a big conference? Do tell.

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