Friday, February 28, 2014


Okay, so I love books. I think this is obvious -- I love reading them and I love writing them, and I even just love looking at them.

So where there are new Shiny Things to read and look at, I get excited. And you should too, because there are two new amazing books out there!

BLOOD CROWN by Ali Cross

SHATTERED VEIL by Tracy E. Banghart

Be sure to enter their amazing giveaway by tonight too.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have already purchased both books, and I can't wait to read them! I hope you'll pick them up too, and then we can DISH about books! Oh my heck -- another thing about books I love! That we can talk about them over lunch. I really like lunch too.

What new books are you reading?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I'm Enjoying: IndieReCon

So today I'm excited to see what else I can learn from IndieReCon. If you haven't heard of it, it's an online conference for "Indie" authors. But I honestly think the advice given over there is for all authors! I read several great articles yesterday (I had to catch up after work), and I think they apply to all of us journeying down this path to publication.

So head on over and participate today! The conference runs through tomorrow too.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ELEVATED release day!!

Throughout the years, I have visited your blogs. You've read mine. Or I've taught a class you attended, or attended a class you taught. Or maybe I've read your books and you've read mine. Maybe you've participated in the many blog tours, blitzes, or cover reveals I've organized. Maybe we're twitter or Facebook friends, or maybe we share a deep love of bacon.

Whatever our connection, I hope that today, I can solicit some support from you. See, my debut YA contemporary novel is releasing this very day, and I'd like to make a big splash in the huge pool of contemporary novels. ELEVATED also marks my entry into the Indie realm of publishing.

I hope you'll help me celebrate both of these landmarks by buying a copy of ELEVATED -- it's only $4.99, and would really make my day!

Celebrate by buying the book!

Celebrate by reviewing!

Celebrate by recommending ELEVATED to a friend -- it's easy! Just tweet or Facebook or link to this blog post.

Tweet: Buy ELEVATED, a new #YA #contemporary novel from @ElanaJ today to celebrate the release!

Facebook: Buy ELEVATED, a new YA contemporary novel from Elana Johnson today to celebrate the release!

You can find out more about ELEVATED -- and what people have to say about it -- on Goodreads. I, of course, think it's fabulous, but you can read the reviews -- and the author endorsements below -- and decide for yourself if it's worth your $5.

"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go

Thank you, and I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Updated ELEVATED cover!

Okay, so a few weeks ago, I released the cover to my forthcoming novel, ELEVATED. It was a fabulous cover! But based on some feedback, my designer and I decided to do a little updating with the fonts, sizes, colors, and images.

Since this is a digital-release only, there are different things to think about than with a print title. I am new to navigating the Indie publishing waters, so everything has been a learning curve. Creating a cover has been one of the most rewarding and also one of the steepest curves.

The new cover for ELEVATED is below. I think it's close enough to the first one that it is still recognizable. What do you think?

I am so excited to unleash this book on the world! Less than a week now!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Recommended Read: LANDRY PARK by Bethany Hagen

Okay, so one of my goals is to try to keep up a little bit better with the 2014 debuts. So I joined Kristi at The Story Siren and the 2014 Debut Author Challenge. There are a lot of great books coming out this year, and I've read a couple so far.

LANDY PARK was one of those. It's written by fellow League author Bethany Hagen, and it is a fabulous book.

About LANDRY PARK: Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.

Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.

I loved the mixing of the old-world idea of royals, the upper class that dresses in fancy gowns and throws elaborate parties, with a futuristic society that runs on nuclear energy. It felt seamless, yet also unique in a way I haven't read before, especially since I don't read a lot of regency-type items.

I really liked how the details of the plot unfolded. There was enough danger and intrigue interspersed with the parties and festivities to keep me turning the pages to find out how everything would resolve. I enjoyed the family tensions, and that the main character, Madeline, has a dream to go to the university before she has to get married.

There's a romance, of course, and I found myself frustrated with it at times -- in the best way possible! I wanted Madeline and David to just get over themselves and be together already! You know how impatient I am. Ha! But Bethany did a great job of pulling the reader along in that relationship, and the ending was satisfying, both in the romance and the plot.

So if you like gorgeous writing with some fascinating world-building, you'll like LANDRY PARK. I hope you'll pick it up!

What have you read lately that you've loved? Anything from a 2014 debut?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Three Things

Okay, so I've got a personal theory about how much any one person can do before everything they're trying to do suffers. It's a trend that I've noticed in my own life over the course of the last few years.

I think we can do three things really well. When we try to add a fourth or a fifth thing to our list, everything we're trying to do suffers. We can't be great moms (or dads), and great writers, and great co-workers, and great critique partners, and great friends, and great wives (or husbands), and great service-givers all at the same time.

It's impossible.

I believe there are constants that we should implant into the first couple of slots, and then constantly rotate the third spot to what needs to get done.

For example, my first two slots are 1. Family, and 2. Work. I need to be on top of things at home. I need to sign homework slips, and make dinner, and schedule appointments, get cars fixed, drive kids to activities, etc. That always comes first.

I need to be a good teacher. I need to be dedicated to work during work hours, and I need to feel value in what I do at school.

Those two cannot budge. If I take work out of the rotation and fill it with something else, that's bad--and not only for me. Same goes with my family.

So there's one more slot. What do I fill it with? What do I dedicate my non-working, non-family-devoted hours to?

For several months, it's been going to the gym. Exercising takes a lot of time and mental energy for me. I don't have much left to give at the end of the day when it's filled with family, work, and healthy eating/exercising.

Which has been great, considering that I haven't needed to focus on anything else--including writing. I feel like my routine is more settled now, and that I could occasionally swap out that third thing -- the gym -- with writing.

I can compartmentalize my hours much better now, having realized that I can't do All The Things all the time.

So my days now look something like this:
1. Family
2. Work
3. Gym until 6:00 PM
3.1. Writing until exhausted

That's not really four things, lest some of you think it is. I cannot focus on going to the gym if I'm worried about not having enough time to write. I can't write if I don't first dedicate the time needed to go to the gym.

They're swappable, not coinciding. I hope that makes sense.

So I'm constantly swapping out the third thing, sometimes even on a daily basis.

What do you think? Can you do more than three things simultaneously -- and do them well?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Essay on Losing

Okay, so normally I stick to pretty writerly topics. Or if it's not such a topic, I spin it that way. This post is probably not going to go that way, but you never know.

Today I want to talk about losing. Weight, specifically.

See, today is February 4, and exactly three months ago today, on November 4, 2013, I began a new lifestyle. I decided it was time to get healthy and drop some weight.

In the past three months, I've lost:

  • 35 pounds
  • 3 dress sizes

Things I've Learned:
1. Living is easier. Every pound I lose makes living easier. Specific things that I've noticed becoming easier are probably simple to those who don't struggle with their weight.

Picking something up off the floor is easier.
Getting out of bed is easier.
Grocery shopping is easier.
Getting out of the car is easier.
Walking up the stairs is easier.

There are so many things that are easier about living that I'm sort of mad at myself for not making this change earlier.

2. You know, sometimes I think we tell ourselves that we're happy the way we are, that we're okay, that we'll be fine, that changing what we eat and how much we move is just too hard.

I've learned that it is hard, but that it's absolutely, 100% worth it.

3. If you can make a decision to drink juice for every meal, or follow a "diet" program, you can make this change in your life. I'm not doing anything more than making a decision--using the strength and willpower I've always had to reach for an apple instead of a tots + a cherry limeade.

That's all that is required for this lifestyle change. Reach for a better food. That's it.

What I've Done:
1. I count calories -- but only in my head. I don't write them down anywhere, but after a few weeks, I know the caloric cost of everything I eat. I'm not aiming for a certain goal -- I'm eating when I'm hungry.

2. I eat when I'm hungry (like I just said). But instead of eating a lot of high-sugar and/or high-fat foods, I make that reach for something else (see #4 below).

3. I eat small portions, several times a day. A string cheese satisfies me now. An apple + a string cheese fills me up.

4. I eat all kinds of foods, without restriction or guilt. This is a LIFESTYLE change, not a diet. I refuse to deprive myself of things -- and then feel that inevitable sense of failure. So I eat cake, and cookies, and carbs -- on occasion.

In my "everyday life," I am reaching for high-protein, low-fat foods. I eat a wide variety of meats, dairy products, fish, and eggs in this category. I eat fruits and vegetables in all varieties. I eat whole grains sparingly -- a couple times a week.

I only eat sweets, rice, potatoes, and pasta on special occasions. And they are delicious! I love them. When I eat them, I enjoy them -- without guilt. This is my LIFE, remember, not a DIET.

I count the calories of the things I eat. One square of Dove chocolate = 40 calories.

Which leads me to...

5. I can only eat one bite and be satisfied and/or happy.

6. I go to the gym 3 - 5 times/week. I workout for 45 minutes. Period. I'm not going to lie. I don't like it. I don't get any of the endorphins people talk about. No adrenaline rush. It is pretty much 45 minutes of time I know I need to be on the treadmill, so I do it.

The only thing I feel is pride that I did it. I still don't like it. It's easier now, which is very motivating, so I keep doing it.

So there you go. An essay on losing--which in this case, is a very good thing.

Thoughts? Lay them on me!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

PARIS CRAVINGS is out today!

Okay, so today marks the day you'll want to buy PARIS CRAVINGS by Kimberley Montpetit. It's a contemporary YA romance by a fabulous author!

Let's examine.

About PARIS CRAVINGS: Chloe Dillard’s life has always been complicated. She has a mother who is a neurotic romance novelist and a boyfriend who’s been pressuring her to go all the way. After The Worst Night of Her Life Chloe escapes on a trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris where she becomes stranded after an accident with high heels and a pastry box.

Saved by a French boy with chocolate-brown eyes, Chloe begins to wonder if being lost in Paris is the chance of a lifetime. But as attracted as she is to the gorgeous and oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy—even he has a girlfriend.

The police are tracking her down, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown when she goes missing, and Chloe just wants to have her dream of a happily-ever-after.

What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world?

Be sure to get your copy today!

Kimberley is giving away five print copies of the book, along with some swag. Enter in the Rafflecopter widget below.

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About Kimberley Montpetit: Kimberley Montpetit once spent all her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops when she was in Paris—on the arm of her adorable husband. The author grew up in San Francisco, another swoon-worthy city, loves all things Parisian and chocolate and lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her family.

Kimberley has won many awards for her work, including the Southwest Book Award, the Whitney Award, the Arizona/New Mexico Book Award, is a Crystal Kite Finalist (SCBWI) and included in the Bank Street College Best Books of the Year.
She once stayed in a haunted castle tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland, sailed on the Seine in Paris, walked the beaches of Normandy, eaten in numerous French cafes, ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan, sunbathed on Waikiki, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

She adores all baked goodies; brownies, ├ęclairs, donuts, tarts, and pie, and makes a lot of chocolate chip cookies while revising.

Kimberley is, of course, hard at work on her next novel(s).

Find her on Facebook, twitter, her website, or Goodreads.

And be sure to follow all the other bloggers who are participating in this exciting cover reveal/release of PARIS CRAVINGS!

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