Friday, September 28, 2012


Okay, so this is going to be a cryptic post. I guess I could be sorry for that, and this is not necessarily my story -- but I know enough authors and I've watched enough journeys to relate. Maybe you can too.

Okay, so imagine yourself on this path:
1. You write a book. It's a good book. People read it and tell you so.
2. You query the book, and you manage to get a literary agent. And your literary agent manages to get you a book deal.


2. You decide to publish the book yourself.

3. You now have a book out in the wild.
4. You blog.
5. You promote your book and yourself.
6. You do signings, events, speak to library groups, book clubs, the works.
7. This next step could involve any number of things. Blog tours. Scavenger hunts. Conventions. Teaching classes. Facebook pages. Tweeting.

But still, your book isn't doing as much as other books. It's not selling as well as your friend's books, or books that are similar to yours, or whatever whatever.

You might feel like all is lost. That no one will ever buy another one of your books. That your agent or publisher will drop you, or that you won't be able to write something people will read.

I'm here to say it's not true. Your first book does not define your career. Even the first series does not determine whether there will be a second.

Only YOU can define that.

So don't give up hope.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gretchen McNeil Talks TEN

Okay, so today we've got the fantabulous Gretchen McNeil on the blog! She's a super-talented author, and one of my bacon sisters. Don't worry if you don't know what that means. Just read the answer to my last question.

But first, let's talk TEN.

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Ten teens trapped on an island with a serial killer. Mayhem ensues. (BRILLIANT.)

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Nope. Growing up I wanted to be an opera singer. I pursued that career for many years – including a BA and a MM degree – but it didn't work out. I started writing about five years ago.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
Well, I'd written a novel that I thought was awesome (it wasn't) and I thought, "Why else would I be writing if not for publication?"

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
Stilettos. (Ah, yes. Gretchen is the shoe lover I wish I could be.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
Elana, you know this answer to the question is ALWAYS bacon. (See? Bacon sisters!)

You need to get this book! Don't believe me? Perhaps you'll believe CHRISTOPHER PIKE???

"TEN is a real page turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat." – Christopher Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the THIRST series and REMEMBER ME

So get TEN today. You won't be sorry.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thank You and a Winner

Okay, so Thursday was awesome for me! Thank you so much to everyone who pinned the cover of ABANDON, who tweeted about it, who posted it on Facebook, or who left a comment somewhere. You are amazing!

It's been a fun ride, that's for sure.

And there's the winner of the $50 Amazon gift card! It's Gabrielle Carolina!

Congrats! Please email me at elanajohnson@gmail(dot)com to claim your prize.

And in case you missed the cover, you can find it here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Cover of ABANDON!!

That's right! The third and final installment in the Possession trilogy now has a face! And here it is!

I especially LOVE the tagline "broken by control." It's just so perfect on so many levels.

So what do you think??

I'm running a Pinterest contest for the cover. I want to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next two days. If we can get that many, I'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card. 

It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is CLICK HERE and select one of your boards to pin the cover to. That's it!

Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. I'll count those too! Just be sure to tag me (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

Cue the muppet flailing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Long Ago

Dude, so here's the deal. Every step I take along this publishing road teaches me something I wish someone had told me earlier. And of course there are two sides to every one of these. I'm not saying them absolutely. I'm just giving you my general experiences with things I've learned in the past 18 months since having a book published.

Here's my top three, and maybe if you're coming down the road after me, this will help you.

1. Don't be in a hurry to publish. It's one of those things that once you do, you can't ever undo. Being unpublished is full of possibilities. Being published is full of numbers, full of what you've sold before, which indicates what a publisher thinks you can sell in the future.

There is no rush to publish. Take your time getting your manuscript right. Take your time soaking in the endless possibilities.

2. Enjoy writing what you want to write. When you're unpublished, you have the option to write whatever you want, whenever you want. Published authors should have this option too, but sometimes that's not always the case. Sometimes what we want to write is already over. Or not ready to be born. Or too similar to something our publishing house already has. Or whatever.

And there's great pressure to write the next publishable thing. There's the constant worry of, "Is this good enough to be published? Is this unique enough to be published? Is this my next published book?"

And if not, then what? Do I have the time to explore other options? Time to revise it?

And what happened to the luxury of writing some terrible-awful-no-good book just because *I* like it? Did I sign it away when I printed my name on that publishing contract? Maybe. Or maybe I just don't need to sleep more than 4 hours tonight.

So enjoy every minute you have writing what you want to write. Enjoy the days, weeks, and months it takes to get that book you love in the condition it needs to be in. Or not getting it there. Whatever you want to do.

That's the beauty of being the unpublished writer.

3.  Surround yourself with those who really care. I've learned that those that really care about you don't care about your publishing status. They don't care if you have an agent, a publishing contract, the lead title marketing plan, or thousands of followers on any of the social media sites. 

They care about you because of you. The book/publishing thing is secondary, or even tertiary, or maybe not even on the map. 

Those are the people you want around you. Find them. Do what it takes to keep them. You won't have time for the other kind down the road anyway.

So there you go! A few things that, looking back on the road I've travelled, I wish someone had mentioned these things in big, bold letters. 

What do you think? Are you in a hurry to publish? Why or why not? Do you write what you want to write? Why or why not? Have you found those that really care about you? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ten! Ten! Ten!

Okay, so today is September 18. It's a Tuesday. Lots of books come out on Tuesdays. But today is the super-awesome release of TEN by Gretchen McNeil.

You should go buy it. If they don't have it at your bookstore, ask them to order it for you (see how to join Gretchen's Army of TEN here).

About TEN: Shhhh!
Don't spread the word! Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do not want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school's most eligible bachelor, T. J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for three days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

You can see if Gretchen will be in your neck of the woods here.

I'm so excited for TEN to be out in the wild! Be sure to drop Gretchen a note of congrats!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Dude, there are few things I like more than covers. Mine, someone else's, doesn't matter. I like to zoom in on them, stroke them in real life, flip the pages and breathe in that new book smell.

Ahem. Anyway, today PJ Hoover is revealing the cover of her forthcoming novel, SOLSTICE! (And I've read this book, and YOU WANT TO READ IT TOO.)

And I'm not the only one who thinks so. The cover quote says:
“Solstice is one red-hot read—it intrigues, sizzles, and satisfies.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author

So there. Two witnesses!

So you wanna see it? Great, here it is!!

About SOLSTICE: Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

Isn't it gorgeous?!

In case you don't know PJ yet, here's a bit about her.

P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Upcoming Awesomeness You Won't Want to Miss

... For real this time. Yeah, last week blogger decided it knew when to schedule my post, and it didn't. I swear there was NO user error there...

Anyway, a couple of things!

1. The cover for ABANDON is coming out next week! Yes, I've seen it, and yes, it's pretty fantastic. YOU can sign up to help reveal the cover on YOUR blog! It's an easy post, and you'll get to see the cover a bit earlier than everyone else, and yeah.

Sign up here. Cover goes live on Thursday, September 20.

I'm going to run a Pinterest contest with the cover. (I've recently discovered the amazingness of Pinterest. Watch for a blog post on that to come soon!) So even if you don't sign up to help reveal the cover, be sure to come here on Thursday and pin it to your board for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

2. October is coming! Which means there's going to be a Review Drive for Possession and Surrender. What is a Review Drive, you ask?

Well, it's quite simple. Leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads for either Possession or Surrender (or both!) and enter to win amazing books all month long! You can leave the reviews now, could've left them a year ago, or do it any time before October 26*.

The Review Drive will be run through my Facebook fanpage, so be sure to click over there to keep up with everything. You can see the official rules right now, and get ready to participate to win amazing signed copies of books all month long in October!

3. You can enter to win an amazing dystopian prize package from Simon Pulse -- which includes POSSESSION!! My book is situated right next to Scott Westerfeld's PRETTIES, which makes me insanely happy. Some of you may remember that his Uglies series inspired me to write my own dystopian novel.  GO HERE to enter -- by Sept. 17!

What awesome things do you have coming up? Are you excited to see the cover of ABANDON?

*Positive reviews are not required for contest entrance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kindness Begins With Me

Okay, so I'm not really sure if the Kindness Project is up and running this month or not. It's entirely possible that I missed it. I'm going to post today anyway, because it's always a good time for kindness.

And kindness begins with me. As a mother, a teacher, a friend. Sometimes it's easy to delve into gossip. Oh, how easy. But gossip is one of the most damaging things to engage in, and it's so unkind. It's sort of like this:

I'm guilty of gossiping from time to time, but as soon as I realize how sticky/gunky my hands are, I try to get out of whatever conversation I've gotten into.

Because no matter what, I'm responsible for what I say, whether in person or in an email or wherever. And kindness begins with me, and usually with what I say. It's a good reminder for me right now, and a perfect way to practice kindness.

How do you practice kindness?

Be sure to follow--and join!--The Kindness Project around the web today, using the Linky list below.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sheri's Ultimate Giveaway!!

Okay, so it's one of my favorite things to hear. You know, when someone signs with an agent. I distinctly remember that thrill, that joy, that overwhelming sense of relief. And my friend Sheri Larsen has had the opportunity to experience that! I'm letting her take over the blog today in a special celebration!


Today, I invite you to celebrate with me!! I've signed with Literary Agent Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary! And because our literary community is so freaking fabulous and generous, I'm having a Bigger-Than-A-Shopping-Mall GIVEAWAY!! The giveaway consists of:

  • Two separate Rafflecopters with multiple giveaways 
  • One grand prize Rafflecopter giveaway - to enter for the grand prize, you must enter either giveaway #1, #2, or both. 

There's only one mandatory entry. Everything else is up to you!! The giveaway is open until September 27th. WINNERS will be announced on September 28th. (Entrants may win more than one prize!)

Thank you so much for entering, spreading the word, and celebrating with me!!


So here's your Rafflecopters to enter. And please drop a comment of congratulations for Sheri!!

Giveaway #1:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grand Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats, Sheri!! Can't wait to follow you down this new road!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Okay, holy brown cows. I'm back in school and doing a million+one things, and it seems like the pace of life is streaming, screaming, bolting by. I feel like everything has to be done now (whether that's true or not), and I can't keep up.

It's the speed of life.

And sometimes it's really nice to leave it behind. Close the front door of my house, draw all the curtains (as if they aren't already closed! Ha! I'm like a vampire), and ignore the Internet. 

Sometimes I crave that quiet. That release from the Words With Friends games, and constant status updates, and ultra-fast stream of tweets, and even my inbox (which I usually adore).

Sometimes I sit in my house with the TV off, the lights off, and the laptop closed.

Sometimes I crawl into bed with a good book -- printing on real pages -- and escape between the covers.

Sometimes I think about what my life was like before I started writing and publishing.


What would you put in that pause? How do you keep up with the pace of life? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Okay, so here I am, on Bookanista Thursday! Stop the presses! (I've always wanted to say that.) Anyway, I'm here today with a longtime blogging buddy, Justine Dell. Her book, RECAPTURED DREAMS, is coming from Omnific Publishing on September 18.

First, a bit about RECAPTURED DREAMS: Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory.

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance, they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want? And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden?

Let's here what Justine has to say about her book and her writing!

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less: Boys loves girl, loses girl, then spends 10 years looking for girl. Boy draws girl back with fashion. BUT…she doesn’t remember him. Drama ensues. (oooh, drama ensues. I've said that before about my books, but I think I say "choas".  LOL!)

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Actually, no. I only started writing three years ago and even then it was only because I read a book that made me think: “Hey! If this person can pen a love story that’s uber popular, then I can surely write down the one that’s been floating around in my head for years.” That unleashed a crazy passion I didn’t even know I had. Writing for me is like a release. Then it became an obsession. Publishing wasn’t even an option. I just wanted to write. And write. And write. ☺

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
After writing a book…or two…or was it three?…I realized that’s what writers did. (Profound. Writers write.) I would have been perfectly happy writing my little fingers to the bone until I learned that writers, uh, seek publication. Insert another obsession.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
Well, I would say my Kindle hands down if I had a way to charge it! But since that’s probably not an option, I would say a pen and HUGE notebook. Oh, that’s two things, isn’t it? (You could probably fool Probst.)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?

About Justine: Justine lives in the Midwest, happily catering to her family, which consists of a horse-obsessed teenage daughter and four crazy dogs. She’s never moved from her hometown, but hopes to grow old in a much warmer climate. 

She started writing three years ago after seeing a movie that set off a chain reaction she couldn’t have stopped if she’d wanted. It’s not a hobby for her; it’s an obsession. One she loves and one she loves to share.

Contact Justine by email:
Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads.
Recaptured Dreams on Facebook.
Friend her on Facebook
Check out her Blog.
Find her on Twitter.

As if that weren't enough, you can enter to win an e-copy of RECAPTURED DREAMS and a set of matching bookmarks simply by commenting on this blog post! You can also enter to win a copy of the book on Goodreads. And Justine has a par-tay going on over at her blog all month long! So saddle up!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Major Awesomeness Ahead

Okay, so you know when your book comes out? It's pretty amazing.

But when someone you've known for years? Read several of their books over a year's time, critiquing every two weeks, 10 pages at a time? Someone you've seen wait for months and months and months for an answer? Someone who is extremely talented, and has wondered when their break will come?

That's enough to reduce you to tears. (I may or may not be crying writing this.)

Enter Stacy Henrie. She's been in my critique group for years. I've read several of her books, 10 pages at a time, critiquing every two weeks. I've seen her go through a whole pregnancy while she waited to hear from a publisher.

She is extremely talented. (Visit and follow her blog.)

And her book, LADY OUTLAW, hit shelves yesterday! I read the book way back when, and I recently read it again with all the changes. It is a brilliantly plotted story of how love can be found, even in the wild west. Of how love can overcome the biggest odds.

I've always loved Jennie as a spunky stage-coach-robbing heroine who is desperate to save her farm. But in LADY OUTLAW, you'll fall in love with Caleb--the reformed bounty hunter looking for a fresh start--too.

Stacy does a great job with the development of Jennie and Caleb's relationship, a mark of an awesome romance. The writing is beautiful in every way, and the plot is fast-paced and action-packed.

Get your copy of LADY OUTLAW at HarlequinAmazon, or Barnes & Noble. You won't regret it.

About LADY OUTLAW: No one would ever imagine a fresh-faced young woman could be robbing stage bandits of their ill-gotten fortunes. But Jennie Jones is desperate to save her family's ranch from foreclosure. And the risks seem worth it, until her upright new ranch hand offers a glimpse of how much is really at stake.

Former bounty hunter Caleb Johnson is ready for a new, clean start. With a woman like Jennie, he could build a future there in Utah territory. But only if his gentle faith can guide her in a choice between the land she's fought so hard to save and a future by his side.

And I'm giving away three copies! Right here, right now. And they're all signed too! Enter in the Raffley thingy below. Contest open through Sunday night. Winners will be announced on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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