Monday, April 30, 2012

What I Learned From the Worst Harry Potter Book

Okay, before you start throwing stones, I love Harry Potter. I love all the books and all the movies, the theme park, the jelly beans, everything. 

I will say that my least favorite book is #5, The Order of the Phoenix, because I am sort of (okay, not sort of, I am) black and white, and the injustices of the world are quite frustrating to me. So Professor Umbridge really irks me. 

So the books just became available on the Kindle, and my son being a newly converted Kindle snob, only reads on his Kindle. I bought the HP books, and he's been reading them (finally!). He's on The Order of the Phoenix, and he wanted to watch the movie yesterday.

So we did.

The characters are really tortured. Harry feels really alone, abandoned, angry. Things have gotten incredibly bad, for Harry, for those protecting him, for the Order in general. Friendships can be worth something. Good people suffer, lose, die. 

As I watched this movie I strongly dislike, I realized something. I don't like all that bad stuff that happens because I care about Harry. I want good to triumph over evil. I want Ron to stand by Hermione, who stands by Harry.

As authors, we have to be willing to do all of the above, and more. It's what readers want. It's what makes them fans.

So, do you know this? I mean, really know it? Have you really (really, really) taken your characters to the brink of all they can handle--and then thrown something else at them?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun Feature

Okay, so as someone who counts on other people to use their precious blog time and space to talk about me and my books, I always try to feature other people too. Sometimes it's a Bookanista post, or sometimes just an interview, or sometimes something else.

Today, I want everyone to know about Lisa Amowitz -- she read my book way back when it was still called something else -- and her forthcoming book, BREAKING GLASS.

She's revealing her cover today (squee!), as well as the trailer for the book. But let's read a bit more about it first.

About BREAKING GLASS: On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he's not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

It's coming out on July 9, from Spencer Hill Press. If you're a book blogger, you can request to read an ARC of Breaking Glass here.

And the trailer is being unveiled today!

If you don't know Lisa yet, you're going to want to take care of that: 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Okay, so I haven't done a Bookanista post for a long time, mostly because it's all I can do to blog three times a week, work, and write. Oh, and there's this little thing called launching a book into the world that suck every second out of every day.

But I got a surprise package in the mail last weekend, and I was fried, so I abandoned everything and escaped into BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS by Terra Elan McVoy.

And it was truly an escape into one of the most amazing books I've read in a long time. Terra is a master at relationships of all kinds. Friends, best friends, girls and guys being friends, first crushes, romance, the whole gamut. And you'll see it all in BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS.

Let's read a bit more about it:
Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl’s perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys’ band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex–best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free…until it isn’t anymore. 

When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl…and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he might want to be more than friends with Char…being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated. 

I loved the way she surrounded the MC, Charlotte, with boys, but the reader didn't know which boy they should trust, should like, should cheer for, just like Charlotte didn't know.

I loved watching her grow from someone who runs a band behind the scenes to standing in front of the mic. I loved watching her struggle with feelings she didn't understand for boys she didn't understand.

BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS is an amazing book, and I've been thinking about it for days now. If you like contemporary YA fictions, you'll definitely love BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS! It comes out May 1, so be sure to get your copy then.

My only wish is that I could go to Georgia for the launch party next week. Le sigh. What have you read lately that kept you thinking for days?

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:
Nikki Katz is crazy about CREWEL
Stasia Ward Kehoe adores BREAKING BEAUTIFUL
Katy Upperman wonders at WANDERLOVE
Tracy Banghart takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS
Jessica Love is wowed by WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE 
Debra Driza marvels at MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH – with giveaway

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SURRENDER Weekly Giveaway

So it's Wednesday again. You know what that means, right? It's time to give away a couple more ARCs of SURRENDER! This week we're focusing on REGRET, since it just came out yesterday and all. (Order HERE for Kindle and HERE for Nook. And HERE for anything else.)

REGRET is Indy's story. You met her in POSSESSION, remember? No? Well, she's one of Jag's friends that he and Vi run into while they're walking down the street in the Badlands. All that subsequent hand gesturing and hushed conversation? Jag and Indy talking about Resistance matters, because Indy's been running the underground movement against the Thinkers while Jag's been in prison in the Goodgrounds.

She's made a couple of decisions she regrets, and none bigger than giving Jag the silent treatment before he leaves for a mission to the Goodgrounds. A mission he doesn't come back from for a while, and when he does... He's with Vi. 

Fans of Jag Barque will get more page-time with him. Not only that, but readers will get to see Indy again in SURRENDER and find out what she's been up to with her Resistance for the past eight months. 

It's a bridge story between POSSESSION and SURRENDER, and I hope you'll consider spending $2 to buy it, and 30 minutes to read it. 

You can enter to win one of the two ARCs of SURRENDER by liking my Facebook page, leaving a comment right here, or purchasing REGRET (no purchase necessary to win). Please fill out the Rafflecopter widget to enter--and good luck!

Ever made a decision you regret? Wished you could have had just ten minutes to talk, and twenty seconds of extreme courage to start the conversation? If so, you'll be able to relate to Indy.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Dystopian... An Oversaturated Genre?

Okay, so I write dystopian novels. I love the genre. I love reading all the different kinds of dystopian out there. From robots to near-apocalypse, from viruses to factions, from brainwashing to technology meltdowns.

I love it all. And every time I hear of a new dystopian novel coming out, I get excited. I want to devour them all.

Now that's not to say that I don't read and love other genres too. I'm quite a fan of fantasy and I'm falling more and more in love with contemporary with each novel I read.

I've heard lately, though, that dystopian is becoming like vampires. Overwritten. Oversaturated.

And it makes me sad, and I wonder if it's true. As a mega-fan of the genre who will continue to read (and write) dystopian novels, I'm wondering how you feel.

Lover? Hater? Read-enough-er? Still hungry for more?  

Things to remember: 
1. The SURRENDER ARC giveaway ends tomorrow night! All details are here, in case you missed it. 

2. REGRET--my short story featuring a character you've seen in POSSESSION and that you'll see again in SURRENDER--releases tomorrow! TOMORROW. Please consider buying it, especially if you're a fan of the bad boy, Jag Barque... It's available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and several other e-reader formats.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Word on Envy

Okay, so I don't normally wax religious here on the blog--or anywhere for that matter. But I've been doing some light reading on a few things, and I'm a writer under the pressurized umbrella of publishing, and it seems that there's always something to be envious about, whether in life or in the world of books.

I've blogged about it before. Twice, I think. Basically those posts made me feel better about my jealousy, because you all said you felt it too. Ha!

But this quote has helped me immensely in the past couple of weeks, and whether you're religious or not, maybe it'll help you. It was said by one of my favorite church leaders, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, at our semi-annual conference on March 31.

Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those. 

Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him “all that he hath,” as the scripture says (Luke 12:44). So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live. 

You can read the whole talk here.

Today, I'm not looking for the confirmation that you feel envy too. Just wondering who's in for more kindness, more gratitude, a more happy way to live? 

Yeah, my hand is up. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Dude, you guys, this is the first of a five week she-bang (hey, it's my blog. I can use that word if I want to...) where I'll be giving away two SURRENDER ARCs each Wednesday. Each week I'll be featuring something different about my books, and each week you'll have the opportunity to participate as entries to win one of two ARCs.

Today, we're talking characters. Since SURRENDER isn't a classic sequel, but more of a companion to POSSESSION, there are many new characters. In fact, the two main narrators are brand new. (You can read the first two chapters of SURRENDER on my Facebook page.)

Gunner Jameson: Gunn is the current Flight Trials winner, which means he killed it in last year's flying competition. The guy can navigate a hoverboard. Ladies, get ready to swoon over that. I mean, who doesn't love a guy who can handle his business in the air? Seriously.

He's also a bit conflicted about many things. He has to leave home at the beginning of the book, and he worries about his mom. He's been crushing on someone other than his match for over a year. And now he's been thrown in the lion's den--literally. He's assigned to train with Thane Myers, none other than Violet Schoenfeld's extremely controlling father. 

Oh yeah. Gunn's in for some real fun in SURRENDER.

Raine Hightower: Raine is the Director's daughter, and she hates that more than anything. With a real chip on her shoulder and gloves always on her hands, Raine does everything her father--and Thane--tell her to... during the day. But at night... well, Raine likes to sneak out at night. 

Raine leads a complicated life trying to keep protocol during the day so she can have as much freedom as she craves at night. It's a tricksy balance, one she's not sure she can keep up for very long.

And with her father circling, it's no small feat for her to do as much as she does. So yeah. Raine's definitely got some frightening things in store for her in SURRENDER.

And, my friends, you can receive an exclusive character art booklet, with character bios of ten characters you'll see in SURRENDER by entering The Insider's Case Files contest. All the details and how to enter are here

This booklet includes Vi, Jag, Zenn, and Thane from POSSESSION. And you'll get "insider" information on Gunn, Raine, Trek, Starr, Cannon, and Director Hightower--new characters to love in SURRENDER--as well.

The contest is open until May 8, and there are many and varied ways to enter, from tweeting to pre-ordering to liking books on Amazon.

And now, as part of this character profile--and The Insider's Case Files spotlight--you can enter to win an ARC of SURRENDER by doing any or all of the following:

Have you already done these things? You've already entered then! BUT please fill out the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your entries to count. This contest will run from today, Wednesday, to next Tuesday night. Winners will be emailed for their mailing address, and a new SURRENDER ARC giveaway will start the next morning (Wednesday), so check back each week to see what new item will be revealed, and to enter to win an ARC of SURRENDER!

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Since we're talking characters, who are some of your favorites? Any book, any genre. Go!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Market Smarter, Not Harder

Okay, so today we're going to have another installment of marketing tips. Now that I've been around the block once, I've learned some things. Here's hoping this will help some of you, no matter if you're releasing your first book, your fifth, or still waiting for the publishing deal.

1. In publishing, you want to know a lot of people. Take the time to make meaningful relationship with people. It's not about numbers, it's about the connection. Not sure if that makes sense, but it does inside my head.

2. Begin early and focus on organization. Release dates can seem extremely far away, but they have a way of sneaking up on you. This is where Excel can be your best friend... Well, maybe that's just me. I am such a spreadsheet junkie. I put everything in there. Names, dates, blog sites, emails, the works. Then I can stay organized with who's doing what, and when.

And have you become familiar with Google Cal? Because, dude, it will save your life when you're planning a blog tour. Here's a shot of mine on the "Agenda" setting. It's AWESOME to color-code things--I made the blog tour stops RED--and can see the blog address right there. 

It helps me to know what's coming up. In the notes section inside the event, I detail what I'm doing (interview, review, guest post, contest, etc.) so everything is available no matter where I am. (Because let's face it. I have this thing on my phone too...)

You'll see 5 calendars here. That's because my family and I schedule our lives on this thing. Three of those calendars are mine (green, orange, and dark blue). The other two are my husband's and son's.

3. Make your noise different. It's no secret that there's so much NOISE out there. Everyone has a contest you can enter. Everyone has something to say on twitter and Facebook. So why should someone listen to you? Click on your link? Enter your contest?

Your noise has to be different. I can't tell you what kind of different, but you can take note of what's out there already. Watch what other authors do that you like, that you think worked. And do a version of that. Your version of it. 

Dedicate some time to thinking about it. Lay it out in front of you. Get your friends from #1 to help you. If you begin early enough, your release will "sound" different from what's already out there. 

And that's how you want to market smarter, not harder.

So what have you seen that you've taken note of? How are you planning to tweak it so yours isn't the same noise everyone's heard before? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

Okay, so it's spring break and we escaped to Vegas. I won't be blogging this week, but I am brainstorming mightily for some pretty amazing ARC giveaways that are coming up. So stayed tuned for my Vegas-inspired contests, and have a great week!

Meanwhile, you can enter to win The Insider's Case Files (full details here) using the Rafflecopter widget on the right. -->

Friday, April 6, 2012

Listening to the Voices of our Characters, A Guest Post by Rachel McClellan

Okay, so today we're getting the extra-special insight on characters from FRACTURED LIGHT author Rachel McClellan. But before that, I have the winners of the SURRENDER ARCs! Thank you so much to everyone who tweeted, liked my books/stories on Amazon, and/or pre-ordered REGRET.

The two winners of the ARCs are:
Shari Green
Kearston Dawn Preece

Congrats! Emails have been sent.

Okay, so let's start with a bit about Rachel's book, and then hear what she has to say about listening to the voices of our characters.

About FRACTURED LIGHT: I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After a Vyken killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

Listening to the Voices of our Characters:

There are a select few who claim to see dead people. I’m not one of them, but I do see characters, and, honestly, some of them are just as scary. The other day I reached for a hanger that had slid partially beneath an attic door in the back of my son’s closet. Just as my fingers touched the hard, white plastic, something, or someone, sucked the hanger into the attic. It was only a moment later that I realized the thing in my attic is the ghost of a seriously pissed-off, murdered woman.

None of this happened, of course. It was only in my imagination, but now the woman is there. Stuck inside my head as much as she’s stuck in my attic. She joins the countless others who are just waiting for their story to be told. I listen best I can, and when I have time I write down their stories. The sooner the better.

It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I could look at an oddly-shaped tree and keep walking; the deep hole in its side was merely a squirrel’s home and not an entrance to a world where humans hide at night and travel at day to avoid the growing number of Junks (those who have had their humanity turned off by the Authorities).

At first I tried ignoring the characters, pretended they didn’t exist. But this only made them louder. When their cries started to contend with that of my children’s, I knew I had to listen. It took some time, but eventually I found a way to balance my own life with that of theirs.

Llona wasn’t the first character I wrote about, but she was the loudest, and, gratefully, wasn’t as scary as the others. I like writing about her. She makes me laugh so I’m glad she has more to say in the sequel of Fractured Light.

Those of you interested in writing, listen to characters. They’re all around us desperately waiting to be heard. Help them find their voice. Work hard. Stay focused. And most importantly don’t give up on them. They only want to exist.


Wow, great advice! Where to follow Rachel:

So, how do you find your characters? Let me know in the comments and one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of FRACTURED LIGHT by Rachel McClellan!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today, Do Something You'll REGRET

Dude, there are no words for this, and I think it fits nicely with the Insecure Writer's Support Group going on today (and every first Wednesday of the month). 

Covers can be controversial. Putting your writing out there for others to read can be enough to make you curl into the corner and rock yourself into a coma.

But there is a cover and a story, so I'll just lay it out for you.

About REGRET: Set in the world of Possession and Surrender, this riveting, original eBook reveals pieces of Jag’s mysterious past and the inner workings of the Resistance.

When Jag, the leader of the Resistance, goes missing during a mission, Indy feels like her heart might break. But as Jag’s second in command, she must put her feelings for him aside and take charge. With Jag in the Thinkers’ hands, the Resistance needs Indy’s smart strategy and calm leadership now more than ever. Indy knows that wherever Jag is, he’s counting on her to continue the fight.

But then Jag returns . . . with a girl named Vi.

Indy doesn’t know who this new girl is, or what she has to do with Jag’s disappearance, but she can see the way Jag looks at Vi, and it makes Indy’s heart stop cold. Now that Jag has returned with a new girl at his side, does Indy even have a place in the Resistance?

This eBook-exclusive story includes special excerpts from both Possession and Surrender.

That's right! I wrote that story, and you can read it on April 24! It's only available in digital format, and you can pre-order for your Kindle here and for your Nook here.
(You don't have to buy a Kindle or Nook. You can download free apps for your phone, computer, or tablet. Kindle here and Nook here.)

Order today... I promise you won't REGRET it!

Also, because I can't help myself, I have to do an amazing giveaway to go along with this announcement. I have two of these, and you could win one...

I'm using Rafflecopter to collect entries, so you can do any of the following:
1. Pre-order REGRET (10 entries) Link here and here.
2. Like REGRET on Amazon (1 entry) Link here.
3. Like POSSESSION on Amazon (1 entry) Link here.
4. Like SURRENDER on Amazon (1 entry) Link here.
5. Tweet this blog post (1 entry) Click here.
6. Like the Possession by Elana Johnson fanpage on Facebook (1 entry)

7. Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)

Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Enter for the next 48 hours only; contest closes at midnight Thursday.

Now, seriously. I didn't think I could ever love a cover as much as the butterfly in ice. But this? THIS? Yeah, I love this. (Insecure writer begone!) What do you think?

Ahh! Look at them together. *faints*

Monday, April 2, 2012

Winners and Exciting Things!

Dude, there's so much to go with here, my head is spinning. Let's go with easiest first.

I offered a signed hardcover of POSSESSION as part of the YA Scavenger Hunt. That winner is: Jesse Grant! (Twitter handle: @j_grant93)

Yay, congrats! Send me an email at elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com so I can get your address and get this in the mail for you. Thank you to all who tweeted and participated in the YA Scavenger Hunt.

Did you see my secret content? Because I think it's pretty darn fantastic. It's a character readers will see in SURRENDER, the sequel to POSSESSION, which is coming on June 5, 2012.

His name is Cannon Lichen, and he's matched to the narrating main character, Raine Hightower. Both Raine and Cannon are part of The Insider's Case Files, a booklet you can enter to win by doing things from liking SURRENDER on Amazon to pre-ordering the book. Click HERE for full details and official rules.

Dustin Hansen is a genius, and the mastermind behind the art in The Insider's Case Files.

Did you see this? So exciting!

Christine Fonseca's TRANSCEND, pitched as Hamlet meets the Black Swan in this Phantom of the Opera thriller, in which a horrible accident leaves a young man abandoned and left for dead, his only link to sanity the love of his fiancee and the support of his best friend-an illusion that might just rip away the last shreds of his humanity and reveal parts of himself he'll wish remained buried, to Compass Press, in a nice deal, for publication in March 2013 (US).

Also, the INSURGENT trailer was released last week. I'm still such a huge lover of all things dystopian, and yeah. I can't help myself.

That rounds out my excitement for the day. I was going to do something else today, but I decided to put that reveal off until Wednesday... What's new and exciting with you?

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