Monday, July 23, 2012

Blogging Break

Okay, so I'm going to be taking a blogging break for a little while, at least through WriteOnCon, which is August 14-15 if you don't already have your calendars marked. (Have you seen that you could star in the introductory video?! Well, you can. Go find out how, I'd love to see your face in my inbox!)

I will try to get around to blogs as I can, and I hope everyone has an enjoyable summer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Jennifer Echols and her newest release, SUCH A RUSH. I mean, look at that beautiful cover!

First a bit about the book.

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Such a Rush is a sexy, romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.

And now a little bit about Jennifer:

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, always, but when I was younger I also wanted to be an artist and a musician. I majored in music in college before I switched into English.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
That really was my plan from the beginning. My grandmother was an unpublished writer, and I thought she gave up on publication too soon, after only a few rejections. From the outset I knew that submitting work and having it rejected was part of the writing business.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
My Alphasmart, which is basically a small, light, battery-operated typewriter. I can store 200 pages in it and upload it to my computer back home after I get voted off the island. (Ha! I love how you don't think you're going to win.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
Dude, chocolate. (I'm not sure of the count, but I think it's chocolate: 10,000 and bacon: 4.)

Praise for Jennifer's writing:
“Echols is a tremendously talented writer with a real gift for developing relationships between her characters.” —Romantic Times Magazine on GOING TOO FAR

"Emotional and expressive, Forget You is another intricately weaved romance from Jennifer Echols… a breathtaking ride into the world of teenage love and a perfect summer romance." –A Good Addiction on FORGET YOU

“Love Story is just as sexy as Echols’ other MTV books with the same level of intensity." –Books By Their Cover on LOVE STORY

Be sure to get your copy of SUCH A RUSH today!

Have you read any of Jennifer's books?

I am over at Hooked On Books today, and yesterday Author Christina Lee had me answer some revealing questions... Go check those posts out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

BROKEN Cover Reveal!

Okay, so today I have a very special feature for you. A.E. Rought's cover for BROKEN, which will be released from Strange Chemistry in January 2013.

So without further adieu...

Oooh, see the iron work in the O? I like that. 
About BROKEN: A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetary and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.

And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

And not only that, but you can read part of the first chapter of BROKEN today! There are 11 blogs participating in this cover reveal, and we all have a piece of the snippet.  Mine is below, and it's the fourth part.

GO HERE to start at the beginning and go through all 11 blogs to read the first chapter. You can GO HERE to read the piece that comes before this, and when you finish here, GO HERE to keep reading!

From BROKEN by A.E. Rought:
Shrinking deeper into my coat, I keep my eyes forward and hurry toward home. My loss bleeds out a little at a time through the mesh of the Memorial Garden’s fence, but it doesn’t mean I like walking by myself in the dark. I’m skilled at scaring myself with what I think might be watching me. Even now, I feel the weight of a stare on my back. At least, I think I do. Of course, when I was five I’d convinced myself there were monsters, too.

A ring from my pocket shatters the silent laughter of carved pumpkins and tacky plastic Halloween lawn ornaments. Letting out a little groan, I fish out my cell phone, and then squint at the screen.

Bree Ransom.

I click to accept the call, then hold it to my ear and try walking and talking without the tripping in the dark. “Hey, Bree, wassup?”
Remember, you can keep reading HERE.

Beautiful cover, no? Trust me, you want to read this book. January can't come fast enough. 

And I have answered some questions for Theresa today! Go check it out. Yesterday, I was spotlighted at Heise Reads & Recommends, so be sure to check that out too. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Word About Genius

Okay, so my husband and I are constantly discussing creative genius, from writing to art to photography. He's quite a good photographer, and he's been experimenting with his camera and photo-editing software lately.

And he found this article. Emailed it to me.

I was in the middle of a keyboarding class (which sounds about as fun as you think), and I read the article on my phone.

It was fantastic. It's nearly everything I believe about creative endeavors. You should really read the whole thing, but my favorite parts that the author in me nodded at are these:

"Great artists (or people of any talent) are made, not born. And increasingly, the science and the studies of great people, are proving it.

If you want to be a technically great photographer, then there is one thing and one thing only that will get you to that point.


Now I think we can easily substitute "photographer" with "writer." So when you see that, just make the substitution--or to whatever else creatively you're pursuing.

"In real life, it turns out that 10 years is considered about the minimum amount of time to do something (with meaningful practice) before attaining a world class standard of technical proficiency."

I have been writing for 4 1/2 years. I'm not even halfway there yet! In fact, I think I might still be figuring out how to "meaningfully practice."

"People like to hold to the idea that they just need to find that one thing they are naturally good at and they will finally find success. The problem is that clearly that simply doesn’t happen. In every case of a technically brilliant person, success comes because of lots and lots of practice.

Michael Jordan was famed for his work ethic in practice.

Bill Gates had thousands of hours of coding experience before he founded Microsoft.

Mozart was driven by his parents to practice vociferously and although he was writing music at age 5, it was largely copies of existing works with his greatest original compositions coming after age 22 (and lots more practice)."

So today's word to achieving genius: Practice.

How's your practicing coming?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Books Are Art

Okay, so this might be a touchy post for some people. It's a post I've written and deleted in various forms about five times. It's a subject I've discussed with authors over the months many times. It is not intended to hurt someone, make another author feel small, or judge their path, or anything.

It's just my opinion.

  • Opinion: I believe books to be art. 
  • Opinion: I believe people want to pay as little as possible for things, including art. 
  • Opinion: I believe when we price our art too low just to get sales, that hurts everyone trying to produce the art. 

One of my favorite movies is You've Got Mail. There's a scene where George is talking about why a book is WORTH so much, compared to the COST of it.

I believe books are WORTH more than a dollar. True, by spending a dollar (or nothing), you don't feel as bad if you don't like the book. But I'd prefer for everyone to look at the publishing industry and think, "I will get what I pay for," and "I know the $3.99 or $4.99 books will be better, so I'll buy those."

Please do not misinterpret what I'm saying. I do not think free or $0.99 books are bad. There are always exceptions to every rule. And I understand the indie model for offering the first book free, and subsequent novels at $3.99 (or another smart price point) to increase sales, expand fan base, and increase readership. 

(In fact, I'm dying to try and publish a book myself to see how it does, how I can adjust price, marketing, new covers, etc. based on data I collect. Maybe one day...)

I have friends who have done this exactly, and still represent themselves as artists and their novels as art. 

I wish to illustrate the point with my friend Christine Bryant. She is the author of BOUND and BROKEN, both of which she published independently. 

She priced BOUND at $3.99 when it was released last November. With the upcoming release of her second book in the series, BROKEN, Christine dropped the price of BOUND (to free) "as a promotional technique I wanted to try to get my book into the hands of readers and to promote BROKEN's release."

And it worked. According to Christine, over 97,000 copies of BOUND have been downloaded in the six weeks since being offered for free.

And BROKEN? How's it doing with this promotional technique of offering the first book for free? Well, it's priced at $3.99 (Amazon moved it down from Christine's price point of $4.99), and sold 5400 copies in it's inaugural month.

FIFTY-FOUR HUNDRED. (That's me dying.)

As of this moment, it's still selling in the top 200 on Amazon.

I believe Christine believes her books are art. She spends time and money on ensuring her covers are professional. Her editing clean. Her copy compelling.

And she prices her books as if they were art. In fact, you can try BOUND for free (still!) and then get BROKEN for $3.99. And be sure to follow Christine here!

I also believe that every author spends an astronomical amount of time creating and perfecting their novels. They truly are art. And art should be appreciated and cherished--and paid for.

  • Opinion: I believe ebooks should be sold for $3.99 - $5.99. (Yes, even my traditionally published ebooks should be that price. It's one of my biggest complaints about the traditional publishing industry.)
  • Opinion: I believe ebooks offered for less than that should only happen for promotional purposes. (Second book coming out, sale for a specified time, marketing strategy, etc.)
  • Opinion: If books are priced too low, we're Wal-mart-izing the publishing industry, and hurting other authors who believe--and price--their books as art. Anything to make a sale...not a good marketing strategy, IMO.

I believe books to be art. Art that should be paid for.

What do you think?

And I'm over at Skyway Avenue today too, so don't miss that either!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth

Okay, so it's Bookanista Thursday! And I'm here to talk about another amazing book. INSURGENT by Veronica Roth.

I'll admit that I'm not much of a series girl. The first story was good. But once I started INSURGENT, I couldn't stop reading. The plot and action move quickly, something that if you've read my books, you know I really like.

I liked watching Tris and Tobias's relationship go up and down, down and up. I liked getting to know him better, and I liked the complicated nature of Tris and how she couldn't hold a gun, and couldn't look certain people in the eye because of things she'd done. It all felt very real to me.

But my favorite part? That one line that makes you pause in reading, and close your eyes, and hold the book close to your chest?

Yeah, that magical moment when you know you LOVE a book?

I found it in INSURGENT. And it's not at the beginning, or even the middle, but way at the end. There's a part in the book when Tris gets to go back to the Abnegation settlements (don't worry, no spoilers here!), and she's sort of reflecting on all she's lost, namely her family. She says something to Tobias about it, and he says, "I will be your family now."

Yeah, that's the moment I read for. The emotional moment I crave in the novels I read. I'm an emotional reader, what can I say?

And INSURGENT delivered for me.

Not only that, but I met Veronica last night! And she looked at me, and she goes, "Are you a hugger?" And I was like, "Are you kidding me?" And then I got to hug her and take a picture. But Nichole has that, so you'll have to wait to see it. I also got to meet (and hug) S.J. Kincaid! I can't wait to read INSIGNIA.

What have you read that delivered exactly what you needed? What titles have you paused, closed your eyes, and relished? 

Oh! And I'm also at The Violet Hour today, so go check that out!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sometimes To Be Kind...

Okay, so today is The Kindness Project. I joined up a couple of months ago, and you can find all the details and follow all of the amazing kindness in the links at the bottom of the post.

You know that old adage, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."? Yeah, that.

I think we need to follow that more. Sometimes it can be hard to find a kind word for someone that has hurt us, or that we perceive as undeserving of our kindness.

Because let's face it. Being kind is hard. Keeping your mouth shut is hard. Human nature tells us to argue, to make sure our point gets across. But it doesn't mean it's always the right thing to do. We all struggle with certain things, and the sooner we can identify those, the sooner we can start exhibiting kindness to those around us.

I think the Internet has made it easy to say something potentially hurtful. It's easier to vent about things and get validation. It's easier to trash talk about our husbands, our kids, our jobs, or our friends on twitter or Facebook where they won't see. (Read this if you don't believe me. Or search. has tons of articles on Facebook, it's privacy settings, and how we should use and not use it.) Every post we put up is to get validation from those we call "friends," especially the venting or negative posts.

I don't think that's kindness. I think choosing to be positive in what you post online is an act of kindness. I think saying kind things and congratulating others--even when it's hard--shows kindness. That's what I've always tried to do, and when it's hard, I stay offline. Because sometimes to be kind, you have to follow the whole "don't say anything" bit.

Do you think social media has made it easier to be unkind?

Follow all the Kindness action here:

Today, you'll also find me at Book Flame AND you can enter to win a copy of SURRENDER! Go check it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden

Dude, so today I have a special post for you all about Denise Jaden's new book, NEVER ENOUGH.

First a bit about the book:
The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less: Betrayal, cute boys, and the story of two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No, actually I grew up doing everything I could to avoid writing and reading. I only came into my love of literature in my thirties and now try to make up for it by devouring several books a week. (Finally! A kindred spirit!) 

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
At first it was for fun. My critique partner was as serious writer, seriously researching agents and publishers, and I thought, why not? Couldn’t hurt to try. I know, all the people who have been working at this since they could hold a pencil really hate me now…but the truth is, once I got serious about it, I learned everything I could about publishing and making my work publishable.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
My iPhone. They can do EVERYTHING now! (So true! I get anxiety if I leave my phone somewhere.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
Do I have to choose? Okay, chocolate. No, bacon. Would chocolate covered bacon be gross? (Nope, I've eaten it and it is highly desirable.)

One more thing! Denise is holding a contest on her blog for four boxes of great books! Anyone who comments here, now on my blog will automatically be eligible to win. GO HERE to find out more and to enter.

Be sure to get your copy of NEVER ENOUGH today, on release day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cover Love: DESOLATE by Ali Cross

Okay, so I love looking at covers. There's something magical and fantastic about a book cover, and not just your own.

Today, I love DESOLATE by Ali Cross's cover. It's the second book in her series, and it just came out last week! Be sure to get your copy today.

Isn't it awesome! I love the swing over the open water, and the color of the title really pops. Congrats to Ali!

What covers have you seen lately that I need to check out?

Oh, and be sure to go to Elle Strauss's blog, where I'm guest posting for her today. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Olympics and Writing

Okay, so I'm not a huge sports fan when it comes to watching and following football or baseball or soccer. But I love watching sports. I love watching athletes in their payoff moment. This is something I talked with the teens about a few weeks ago.

The payoff for all the workouts, all the hours on the track and in the pool, all the pain, is coming. There will be tragedies and injuries, but there will also be huge moments of triumph. Gold medals will be won.

And I want to see it all. Watching an athlete achieve something they've been working for for years always moves me to tears.

It's the same for writing. Not everyone knows the hours spent behind a screen, in the cubicle at the library, the endurance of critiques and revisions. But I do. And when that book comes out?

Major payoff moment.

So yes, the Olympics remind me so much of writing. If only I had the body of a swimmer. Ha!

What do you liken to writing? Have you been watching the Olympic trials?
Be sure to check out I Like These Books for a guest post regarding SURRENDER today.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

So I'm going to be making this:

Recipe here

Hope you have a fabulous holiday, filled with fireworks and patriotic treats!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Back to Business

Well, it's not like we haven't been down to business this whole time, but you know. It's July 2, which means we've all survived June!

I really can't believe how fast this past month went by. I need time to slow down in July, because then it will be August, and I'll have to go back to work!

But I'm celebrating the survival of June. I managed a major 40-stop blog tour. Edited two novels. Made my self-made deadline. Launched a book into the world, and blogged five days a week to do it. I haven't done that for a long time, and now it's back to business.

I'll be blogging three days a week (M, W, F), and there are still several SURRENDER tour stops this month that I'll be advertising, but for the most part, it'll be back to boring-Elana-land, where you'll be hearing about So You Think You Can Dance, and what movies I'm watching.

Hope you're ready for that.

What does July hold for you?

Be sure to check out Bibliosaurus Text for a review of SURRENDER.

See Elana's recent blog posts

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