Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Newsflash: Publishing is Subjective

If you've ever been rejected you know this. At least your brain does. The message is much harder to implement, at least in my experience.

But I've been lurking around the Interwebz these past few days, checking out lots of book blogs and/or book review blogs. See, The Story Siren launched her annual debut author challenge, and so my Google alerts have finally become more interesting than what I tweeted last week.

So I've been thinking a lot about what kind of reviews my book might receive--in six months. It seems almost ridiculous to think about this right now, but hey, whoever said I was reasonable?

As this band of tension started to snake its way around my chest, I had a major newsflash.

Publishing is subjective. In fact, anything creative is subjective. You might like a painting I just don't get. You might love a song/artist I think is just noise. You might not even know what Survivor is...well, let's not go there.

But the same goes for books. I love with all my heart and liver The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson and The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

Maybe you don't.

And that's okay. We can still be friends. It's not personal.

Until it's your book. Or mine.

Which seems totally ghetto, right? We can talk books until we go blue in the face, we can disagree about what we like/don't like, we can go home and think, "We just like different things."

Until it's your book. Or mine.

Which is totally made of lamesauce.

In my head, I know there are going to be people who don't like my book. Who will give it "bad" reviews. In my head, I've told myself that everything will be okay. That publishing is subjective.

That it's not personal.

And so, today, I'm standing up for the non-lamesauceness of the world. Which, I think, would be awesomesauce. And I'm just going to keep repeating: publishing is subjective. (And I hope you like my book. But it's okay if you don't.)

What do you think? Is this harder to live than to believe?

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Do You Know?

Okay, so I am singing the song "How Does She Know?" from Enchanted as I type this blog post. I hope it infects you for the rest of the day, just cuz I'm cruel like that. *mwa ha ha!*

Anyway, being deep in the trenches of editing/revising my next novel, I'm sort of wondering: How do I know when this bad boy is done? How will I know when I should send it to my betas?

I mean, I know they're going to send it back to me without a single mark, praising my every word! *snarf* Riiiight.

So when do *I* stop??

For me, this has always been a gut thing. Plus, if I'm reading my own book (where, supposedly, I know everything and why that one sentence is there and how it's setting up that freakishly cool thing on page 323), and I have to make notes of what's wrong, then, newsflash, it's not ready.


My book still isn't ready.

Now, if you're simply going around and around in circles between the words "slid" and "slithered" then you probably need to put down the red pen and step away. Just sayin'.

So how do you know when you've done all you can do? Gut feeling? Set round of edits? Lay it on me. I'm on round 6, I think.

And the pen is red this time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Write Everyday

Okay, so I'm going to dispel some possibly unpopular advice. You've heard/read out there that you have to write every day to be a "real writer." You should schedule some time every day to write, or you'll never get published. You have to treat it like a job.

I say: rubbish.

Let me explain before you start throwing Diet Coke cans or click that unfollow button.

The best thing I ever did was allow myself to NOT write every day. And let me tell you, I was much happier after I gave myself that very important permission.

I do not write every day (except for this month and NaNo). I have a scheduled time to write, but I often don't use it for actual writing. And if I treated writing like a job, I'd want to quit--or die. It's a toss-up.

The fact is, I have a day job. The last thing I want is to take writing--something I love and create and enjoy and smile about--to turn into a j-o-b. Are there aspects of writing I don't like? Yes. Am I focused on making myself into a career author? Yes.

But I do not think of writing as a job. People can crucify me on that if they want. If I thought about it like that, I would not do it. The end.

Writing is more than a job to me, and I treat it that way instead.

So there. I often only write on the weekends (when not NaNo-ing). So that's 2 days on, 5 days off. I often write whenever I can, regardless of a schedule. And I don't think of writing as a job.

So sue me. I've still written 13 books over a 3-year period (I just finished my WiP LAST NIGHT). I have a real, live book being published next year. If you don't want to call me a writer because I don't stick to a schedule, I don't write every day, and/or I don't treat my writing like a job, go right ahead.

You can call me an author instead. ;-)

What do you think? What have you read/heard that just makes you go, "Well, I don't do that, so I must be wrong/lame/stupid/not good enough."? Discard it. And you can totally tell me if I'm wrong if you want to. I am well-aware of the differences in this world, and what works for me might never work for you. I guess I'm just a little leery of such definitive statements as "You must write every day if you want to be a writer."

Oh, and I'll be gone next week, not blogging, not writing, but you know, LIVING. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

PERILOUS by Tamara Hart Heiner

Today's Bookanista post is pulling double duty--because I'm the next stop on Tamara Hart Heiner's blog tour!

Welcome PERILOUS to the blog.

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Perilous follows Jaci & friends on a terrifying journey in2 the lair of a kidnapper. The girls soon find that he'll nevr stp hunting them.

What else are you working on? Secrets? Inside scoops? Give us the juicy stuff!
I’m currently hard at work on the sequel to Perilous, which I wrote a year ago but have to fix it to match the first book. I have another series that I’m querying and currently have a partial out. And then there’s a novel I started in May that I very much want to finish!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I can’t really remember deciding to be a writer. I just wrote. I started trying to write novels when I was 9. Didn’t actually finish one until I was 13.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
After I finished my first novel, I just figured that was what you did. (I was young.) I didn’t succeed at that time and kind of forgot about my interest in writing for a decade. When I picked up the hobby again years later, I knew publication was my end goal and I wouldn’t be happy until I achieved it. I wanted my book to be read. (Thank goodness money has never been a part of the equation!)

Quick! You’ve been chosen to be a contestant on Survivor. What luxury item do you take? Okay, what exactly is a luxury item? Chapstick. (I'm going to make a questionairre for all future interviews. Seriously, people. Don't you watch TV??)

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know. I lived in Brazil for two years and still prefer Portuguese to English.

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate? Are you kidding? Who on earth would choose bacon? :) (Oh, sure, you think that little smiley is gonna make everything all better?? I suppose I live on Mars or something.)

Also, get your game on to WIN!!
1) There will be two book giveaways. Signed copies of Perilous, of course. All you have to do to get in on that action is make a comment anywhere in the blog tour. This is a Random drawing. Here are the links for all the other fabulousparticipants!

2) There will be a Kindle giveaway. This WON'T be random. Kindles are kind of a big thing, so I'm going to make you work for it. The giveaway will be point based, in other words, whoever has the most points at the end of the blog tour wins the Kindle. The contest will run until Dec. 15, and you can visit this page for full details about how to enter.

And check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today!
Christine Fonseca is amazed by DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Shannon Messenger is awestruck by THE MARBURY LENS and giving away a signed hardcover
Megan Miranda is captivated by MATCHED
Beth Revis is blown away by DEMONGLASS
Lisa and Laura Roecker share a YA review from an actual YA: a "Guestanista Review" on THE REPLACEMENT
Carolina Valdez Miller is spreading picture book love for CHICKEN BUTT!
Bethany Wiggins is stunned by STRANGE ANGELS

Also, I just want you to know my mouse acted all wonky and wouldn't select things. It took me like, half my freaking life to copy and paste all the links to blogs, etc. I wanted to die. See what I do for you guys?? :) And what has frustrated you today? Is your mouse acting nicely? Can it scare mine into submission?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Can Do This

So it's winter now. When I wake up, it's dark. By 5:00 PM, it's dark. It's freezing cold all the time. I already want spring to come (I'm not what you'd call a winter person.)

I've noticed I've been in a bit of a funk, and that quite a few other people have been as well. Doubts are high. Confidence is low. Winter doesn't help. Neither does pounding out a billion words for NaNo. Or getting rejected up one side and down the other.

Trust me, I've been there. I know how hard it is. I developed a whole motto for these horrible, wallowing times. But this post isn't about that.

No matter what else you read today, I want you to read this: You can do this. Say it to yourself. Maybe out loud (check for loitering co-workers first). Make a sign and hang it on your wall of awesome. Whatever.

Just know that you can do this.

That is all.

How's your confidence right now? Do you need a booster of you're awesome!? I've got the syringes all lined up...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Last 12 Months

Holy brown cows, people. Believe me when I say that I know how lucky I am. I am extremely thankful to look back over the past 12 months and see the road I never thought I'd travel.

A little picture recap for all those of you who are new here, which is about 1400 people.

November 11, 2009: I sign with the most fabulous Michelle Andelman.

February, 24, 2010: My debut novel sells to the amazing editor Anica Rissi at Simon Pulse.

In the ensuing months, I help organize an online writing conference,

edit my novel, change the title, get the cover image,
receive ARCs,
see my book go up for preorder online, make a new author website, a dedicated novel website, and think, sleep, eat, dream marketing ideas with my insane besties (Christine, LiLa, Beth).

November 5, 2010: I receive word that my YA novel will be cross-promoted in the adult catalog at Simon & Schuster. I don't think life can get any better.

I am wrong. Here're some hints...


How about now?

Guess, you know you want to...

It's not just food, people.

One last chance...

November 8, 2010: Possession sells in France. That's right! Michel Lafon (who will also publish Alyson Noel's and Ally Carter's books) will be publishing Possession in French--and the French Canadian market.

Later that day, I cry. And it's the good kind. The thankful kind. The holy-cow-how-did-I-get-so-lucky-and-wow-I'm-overwhelmed kind. And I think I want some of these:

So my message to you today is to be thankful for wherever you are in the process. Just starting. In the middle. Almost there. Wherever. You'll never be in this exact spot again. Enjoy it.

Look back over the last year. How far have you come? Have you been thankful for the journey?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Layers, Critiques, and Winners!

Okay, people, this is a multi-faceted post. Get ready.

First, I wanted to expound a little more on my revision process. It has complete relevance, because it's also how I read critically, and at the end of this post is the Pay It Forward With Partials! winner. So if you don't like how I'm probably going to slash help you, then you can just pretend like you never saw this post...

Okay, so revision layers. When I revise, I do it in steps. Stages. Layers.

1. Little stuff/Senses. This is tweaking the writing, the word choice, the flow, the voice, the style. This is moving one sentence up a bit and taking one out for clarity. This is not rewriting scenes. I make sure I know the weather and how that affects my character. I spice up the writing with smell, taste, and sound, not just sight and touch.

I make notes of where new scenes might go or how the weather might affect emotion or setting for later. I star them, I don't actually write them. The first layer is a clean up layer, basically erasing all the comment bubbles I left for myself in the drafting stage.

2. Character. Okay, I don't know, like really know, my MC until I'm done with the first draft. And sometimes not even then. So I devote an entire layer to developing character. Fleshing them out. Making them consistent in action/choice (unless their arc dictates otherwise). Bringing them to life. This takes way longer than the first layer, but it's one of the best layers, IMO.

I make notes of where new scenes might go, mostly backstory or flashbacks in this layer. (Yes, I said flashbacks. Deal with it.) I star them, I don't actually write them.

3. Emotions. I'm ridiculously flat at emotions. Most of the time, my first draft is emotionless. Going back in to get them right, to insert reactions and feelings, is something I do after I've written the whole book. Then I know my character (and I've done the character layer, so that helps too), and I can accurately portray how they'd be feeling in certain key situations. I'll admit that sometimes while I'm doing my character layer, that I work on the emotional layer too.

I make notes of where new scenes might go, again mostly backstory to set the character's emotional reactions in key scenes. I star them, I don't actually write them.

4. Setting. I'm notoriously bad about describing the setting. My CP's are always like, "I'm so confused here. Is she in the culvert or not?" So I make an entire layer just for setting purposes. Anywhere that someone was confused about where things are/were, etc. I take a deep look at. This goes for blocking too. Where are the doors? Who's in the room? I go through my entire MS just to make sure the setting is well, set. (Ha!)

I make no stars here. I simply write what needs to be written. I mean, I'm almost done, so it would be lame to star and then go fill in the stars. You know?

5. Plot. This is where the bulk of my rewriting comes in. All those stars I've made? Yeah, now something has to be done about them. I have to actually write the new scenes that are needed to fill in the plot holes I've created (or have always had) in my main plot, subplots, character arc, emotional journey, etc.

This is the same way I critique. I'm looking for little things, well-rounded characters, authentic reactions/emotions, just enough setting, and a plot to keep me reading.

I pretty much mark everything I think feels off, or isn't quite as strong as I think it could be in each of the 5 areas above.

So if you don't want me to do that, maybe you'll leave your prize unclaimed...

Because the winner of the 25-page critique is: Josh Hoyt!

Email me your 25 pages at your convenience. (elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com)

Do you revise in layers? What are you looking for when you revise?

Oh! And don't forget about the live WriteOnCon event tonight! Literary agent Stephen Barbara and his client, Leila Sales will be discussing amazing things! 9 PM EST. Be there or be there.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Inside Elana: Revisions

Okay, we're delving inside Elana again today. It might be messy. Today, I'm letting you see my revision process.

For the sake of clarity, let's establish some vocab.
1. Revision draft = post-first draft, post-beta readers. I usually revise my first draft again (and again and again) myself. Then I send it to my lovelies, who send me all kinds of mean notes as all betas should.

1. I read all my beta's comments, making notes on things that obviously need to be fixed or clarified.

Then I'm ready to really revise. Here's what it looks like:

  • Headphones
  • Pandora
  • Pen in whatever color
  • MS printed out, divided into 3 sections
  • Beta notes on computer screen
  • Notes nearby

Here's what happens:
1. I read my notes and plunge into section 1 of the printed MS, pen in hand. I delete. I reword. I write entire new scenes (by hand). I evaluate word choice. I read out loud for flow. I break up paragraphs. I edit awkward writing. I add/delete details.

2. Pandora blares in the background. Meals may or may not be consumed.

3. When finished with section 1 (usually through the end of Act One), with pages bleeding, I enter all changes into the computer.

4. I save the draft and go watch TV.

5. I repeat this process for section 2 and then section 3.

Note that this does not take only 3 days. More like 30. Or 60. Or forever. Sometimes I can only do a few pages each day because the slashing and rewriting and moving and general smell of holy-crap-I-wrote-this-garbage? is just too much.

But all revisions get done by hand, on paper, and transferred to the computer. Otherwise, I just can't "see" it. You know?

Oh, and then I repeat the entire process again. And again. I am a fast drafter, but that requires a colossal amount of revising. Good thing I don't hate it...

How do you revise your MS?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer

Okay, we're goin' old school for this week's Bookanista feature. You know, report card style.

The student:

The report card:
Cover: A (This may or may not but definitely does have to do with the fact that the cardstock is pearlized, and there may or may not but definitely is another book that will have this gorgeous cardstock on its cover. Take a wild guess which one. Hint: Starts with P and ends with OSSESSION.)

Main Character: A (Calla "Lily" is well-done. I found her unapologetic right when I wanted her to apologize. And I liked that.)

Male MC "Love Interest": A (I only have one name in mind. Ren. All Ren. Yeah, I know, you could make an argument for the other guy, ole whats-his-name, but it would be flimsy and fall apart under my cutting glare. I think it's pretty obvious that Ren was pretty well-written. I was supposed to hate him, but when he howled...)

Plot: A (Yes, this is a werewolf novel. But don't let that hold you back. Even if wolves aren't your thing--and all the girls in my crit group know they're TOTALLY my thing--this is still a fabulously written novel with Stuff That Happens. So read it. You might be surprised.)

What have you read recently that surprised you in a good way? If you've read Nightshade, are you Team Ren??

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:
Lisa and Laura Roecker and Myra McEntire spreads some love for SELLING HOPE
Christine Fonseca swoons over SIREN
Shelli Johannes-Wells is over the moon about THE ORACLE TO REBOUNDS and her fab giveaway.
Shannon Messenger marvels over MUSEUM OF THEIVES (plus she's having another epic giveaway).
Carolina Valdez Miller is struck by SHIP BREAKER.
Megan Miranda is in love with I AM THE MESSENGER.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dear Self: Social Media

Okay, so with this month being NaNo and all (17,834 words, baby!), I've been giving a lot of thought to the social media in my life. I'm going to give you some things I wish I knew when I first entered this crazy social networking arena.

What I Wish My Past-Self Knew About Social Media:
1. Pick what works for you. Don't try to be everywhere, doing everything. It's impossible, and you'll just end up feeling like a raging loser.

You like blogging. Focus on that. You like Facebook. Do that. You hated twitter, remember? But now you like it, because it's quick, it's painless, it's fun. So don't judge your social media so harshly--or so quickly.

2. Remember that the Internet is a public battlefied. All online posts, tweets, and statuses should pass this question before being posted: "If I Google myself next week, will I be embarrassed by this post/tweet/status update?"

Only proceed if the answer is "No."

3. Be yourself. No one can be you the way you can. You can't imitate someone else and expect results. And BTW and FYI, most people can sniff a fake out of a garbage dump. So yeah.

4. Along with acting authentically, be genuine. Bambi's advice really applies here. If you can't say something nice, maybe you shouldn't say it. (See #2 above.) Of course, things are different for those in your Inner Sanctum of Trust. And everyone knows that IST's only communicate behind the scenes.

5. Respond/Repay/Interact as much as possible for you, your life, your schedule, your family, your writing time, etc. Everybody loves email as much as you do. Everyone wants a comment on their post. Everyone (even adults, heck, ESPECIALLY adults) wants to know they're valuable, appreciated, loved.

Do what you can. Hope that who you miss, someone else will pick up.

These are my big five. What do you have to add re: Social Media? Do you have rules for yourself? What are they?

And, oh my flippin' heck! You can preorder POSSESSION now! It came up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble yesterday. Trust me when I say I freaked out, complete with tears and everything. I just felt deeply how truly lucky/blessed I am.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Inside Elana: Writing

Okay, so I've decided to dedicate a few posts in the near future to, well, me. But not really me. But I'm going to let you inside my writing cave so you can see how I write, revise, edit, blog, whatever.

Now, every person's process is different. What works for me will most likely not work for you (I mean, seriously. What I do should only be attempted by professional stunt men). But I think maybe you'll see something I do that you might want to try, or that you do too. Or maybe not. I guess we'll see! (Or maybe you'll just realize that I'm not that special--flawed even--and that if I can write and publish a book, then you can too!)

Up today: Writing.

And by writing, I mean the first draft. The first time you put words on the page. What you need to know about me before we start:
1. I type about 90 - 110 words per minute. (Don't be a hater.)
2. I never turn off my internal editor. (Ever.)

So with those disclaimers out of the way, I'll let you in on how fresh words go down at my house.

Sometimes I have a scene in my head. If so, this is how the writing goes:
1. I open the WiP. I begin typing the scene at the end of the WiP document. Order matters not.

2. I put little brackety things (yes, technical term) before the misplaced scene like: [GUNN AND RAINE FLYING, THURSDAY NIGHT] and at the end like: [END OF CHAPTER? MAYBE ANOTHER SCENE, CHECK CH. LENGTH]. These brackety things get highlighted in yellow. (I will admit that I generally only write out of order for the first 80 - 100 pages. After that, everything is sewn together and I can write linearly to the end. Sometimes. Right now? Not so much.)

3. I write myself some notes for what might come next or before. These are long and rambling and full of ??? and capital letters. Notes get highlighted also, usually in blue.

4. I read over the new words I've just written, allowing the Internal Editor to have her way with them.

5. I save the WiP and go watch TV. If I have a scene in my head, I can crank out about 2000 words in an hour.

Seriously. That's how I do it.

If I don't have a scene in my head, writing goes something like this:
1. I open the WiP. I go back about 15 pages and read. I edit as mercilessly as possible as I go. Sometimes I add words to clarify. I delete. I evaluate word choice. I add/remove details. I let the Internal Editor do whatever she wants.

2. I read the notes I left for myself last time.

3. I pick up the story from where I left off, carefully stitching together the scenes I wrote out of order with neat sutures into the story where they belong. I write myself notes for next time.

4. I read over the new words I've just written, allowing the Internal Editor to have her way with them.

5. I save the WiP and go watch TV.

Ta-da! I embrace my eclectic, out-of-order, messy, note-filled writing style with gusto. Entire drafts have been composed in less than 3 weeks.

How do you write?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pay It Forward with Partials!

Okay, today is the day you've been waiting your entire life for. Don't think so? Trust me, it is.

Because today, I, along with 4 fantastically amazing writers are doing a Pay It Forward with Partials event! In order to get your partial upgraded to a full, you need to have those first chapters sharp and strong. And we want to help you do that. So today, you could win one of 5 25-page critiques!

Meet the critiquers:

Lisa & Laura Roecker: Ever since Lisa and Laura were born, they've wanted to be conjoined twins, you know, like that Matt Damon movie. So they decided to do it virtually. Thus, LiLa was born, and the sisters actually got surgically joined at the hip in 2009. For realz. What? You think they're two different people? I beg to differ. And with a killer debut called THE LIAR SOCIETY, I think we all know who's right. (Me.)

Shannon Messenger: After her morning hang gliding routine (she launches from the double-Os on the Hollywood sign), Shannon spends her time memorizing all things Harry Potter, deep sea fishing, and inventing new hashtags for Twitter. #truefact But she's looking for a SUB for that so she can be freed up to zip through her next novel. All interested in the position can inquire at her blog.

Sarah Wylie: Born to Brownies (the creature, not the delicious snack cake), Sarah grew up in the wild. Because of this, she has a special place in her heart for Mowgli, living in tree houses, and only using three squares of toilet paper each day. She secretly wishes she could star in "Days of our Lives" (I mean, who doesn't?), the long-running soap opera on NBC. Instead, she wrote an amazing YA novel, ALL THESE LIVES, due out in the Spring of 2012.

P.J. Hoover: Native of "the land down under," P.J. enjoys all things vegemite, surfing, and pink (of course). She cornered the market on telekinesis, and regularly reads people's minds to find out what they're having for dinner. You might check out THE EMERALD TABLET, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, and THE NECROPOLIS if you don't believe me.

Elana Johnson: Lover of octopus, mushrooms, and dieting, Elana lives in the isles of the Caribbean, where she sleeps in late, enjoys the undulation of crystalline water, and writes young adult novels perfectly the first time. Her greatest POSSESSION is the fancy home office where she crafts her masterpieces.

In order to win a 25-page critique from me, you have to leave a comment on this post AND be a follower. To win from one of the other lovelies, visit their blogs (linked above) and follow their instructions. All winners will be announced on Monday, November 15--the same day as our next WriteOnCon event!

And seriously, don't you think LiLa is one person? Wouldn't you like to be able to read minds? Have you ever been hang gliding? Lived in the wild? Eaten octopus?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Across the Universe with Beth Revis

Okay, squee!! Did you hear that scream in New Jersey? I think so. Today, I'm going Across the Universe with Beth Revis. Make sure to check out her site for my grand adventure (or not, because mine is quite lame), and join us onboard the Godspeed as we zip Across the Universe (said in a really low, booming voice).

Across the Universe is a sci fi coming out from Penguin/Razorbill on January 11, 2011. Author Beth Revis describes it as "a murder mystery set in space," but it also has romance, adventure, and dystopian elements. In the book, a girl boards an interstellar spaceship in a journey across the universe to find a new planet.

To celebrate the book's upcoming release, Beth's gathered together writers and readers from across the blogosphere to share their stories of adventures they've had across the world. Check out her site the first two weeks of November to read about adventures from the Wild West to Indonesia, from Europe to Africa.

And as you're going across the world with all these adventures, be sure to pick up the clues. On Beth's webpage is a secret link--LOOK for it, and you'll SEE it. But it's password protected! To find the password, you'll need to go on the adventures with us, pick up the letters, and re-arrange them into the secret phrase.

What do you get for playing? On the password protected page there's tons of secret information about the book--hidden Easter Eggs, the surprising origins of one of the characters, and the unexpected inspiration behind the space ship. But, more than that--there's also a chance for prizes! Only accessible from the password protected page is a form to enter a drawing--the winner will get a signed and doodled ARC of Across the Universe, pin-buttons featuring the book, star-related swag--and a secret something else!

All you have to do is follow us across the blogosphere, pick up the letters, and unscramble the password! Your clue for today is...


So you tell me: Are you super excited to cross the universe with Beth's book? Let me just tell you that I've read some of it, and I'm salivating for more! Salivating! Definitely add this one to your list (if it isn't already), and come play with us!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Okay, I have the best thing planned for today! The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney is a book you must all add to your TBR piles and read like, yesterday.

About the book:

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less: THE MOCKINGBIRDS is the story of an underground student-run justice system at a prestigious boarding school and the date rape case they try. (Ooh, right on. Nicely played, Whitney, nicely played.)

The official blurb: Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.
(Ahh! I must read this now! Good thing I have a copy in my hands! Woot! Get yours here.)

Follow all The Mockingbird action on the Facebook page.

About Daisy:

Have you always wanted to be a writer? When I was younger I wanted to be a Broadway star, a ski jumper and an environmental scientist.

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication? Ah, that’s where the whole pursuit of dreams comes in. I have to say, NOT seeking an agent and NOT seeking publication was never an option. If I was writing a book (or several as I have three unpubbed novels) I was writing until I got it right and landed a book deal.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take? I don’t even watch the show! But I would for sure want some good shampoo and body lotion. I don’t want dry skin!

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate? Chocolate all the way. (I can tell I need to revamp this question. Humph.)

Click here to check out Daisy's website.

Other features in the Bookanista blogosphere:
Lisa and Laura Roecker dish about The Love Goddess' Cooking School
Christine Fonseca is nostalgic over books she loved growing up
Shannon Messenger is excited about the Ninth Ward
Megan Miranda adores The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Myra McEntire raves about NetGalley
Kirsten Hubbard considers the good, the bad and the ugly impact of reviews
Bethany Wiggins can't get enough of Black Hole Sun
Jamie Harrington is thrilled about The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Okay, so it's 10:16 PM on Tuesday. I never (like NEVER) write my blog posts the night before they go live. I'm much too neurotic for that. I have to read over them a billion times. I have to shift them from this day to that day, rewrite them, postpone the ones I'm worried about.

No, seriously. Writing this blog is like a full-time job with approximately 1618 bosses. That's how I think of you, my readers. I stew about what you might like to read. What you might want to weigh in on. What you might want to know about me, my book, my next door neighbor (kidding. Kind of). What will get you to dish about your next door neighbor.

The pressure is heavy, enormous. Sometimes I feel like I won't be able to deliver. That I won't be funny / informative / personal / helpful / impersonal / friendly / witty / knowledgeable / [insert adverb here] enough. (Is adverb even the right part of speech? Are they called parts of speech? Crap. No time to Google this vital piece of information.)

I want to give each and every one of you the exact post you need at the exact moment you need it. I want to get to every blog out there. I want to leave meaningful comments on said blogs.

The fact is: I can't. I will fail at this.

And that bothers me in a way I can't describe.

I'm humbled every day when I wake up and see comments. You make me laugh and cry and everything in between. I appreciate every comment and the many who read and don't comment. I'm glad you think my blog is worth your limited time.

So thank you. And know that I am trying.

What's pressuring you right now? Did I use an adverb up there? How in the world do people write blog posts the night before and not have time to edit them into submission??

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Morning Report

Yeah, okay, so I watch a lot of Disney movies. There are worse things, people. Anyway, so today you're launching into my inner gray matter. I cannot be held responsible for whatever comes spewing out.

1. Meeting, listening to, and talking with Scott Westerfeld was awesome. In fact, there are not words to describe the awesomeness. But Heather has photos--and a contest. So go check that out, because she is awesome in ways I am not. (And yes, you'll see me in the pics. I really need new jeans.)

2. I like Miley Cyrus. Don't judge me.

3. I seriously considered posting a recipe today. No lie. That begs the question: What kind of lame blogger am I? And watch out for tomorrow, because I currently have nothing planned.

4. I hope you're excited for next July's blog posts, because I've already got a couple planned. Let's just say they involve the city of Cleveland. (You can never plan too far ahead.)

5. I'm regretting a decision I made a couple weeks ago and wishing there was a way out of it that wouldn't result in hurt feelings. Le sigh.

6. I'm going shopping this weekend. This is huge for me, because "Elana" and "shopping" never go together in the same sentence, unless we're listing Things That Cause Rashes. (And yes, outlining would be on that list too.)

7. I seriously want to kill every character in my WiP. They are not playing nice, and they've forgotten who breathes life into their pathetic existences. You hear that, Gunner?? *evil eye*

8. I've started two items in this post with "I seriously." My editor would tell me to fix the echo. I'm leaving it just because I can.

9. For the love, only eating 1200 calories a day makes me cranky. But I have to somehow squeeze myself into an airplane seat in April, and I'm determined to do it. But dude, if you even smell like bacon, you might die.

10. I survived Halloween, mostly because it rained and rained and rained. I have never been happier for bad weather.

11. I need a futuristic, dystopian name for a girl. I can't think of a single. freaking. thing. Help?

12. On the advice of those smarter than me, I have created a Facebook fanpage for Possession. But I have no idea what I'm doing. Creating pages on FB is like performing heart surgery in the dark, without scalpels or gauze. I wish I were kidding. If you want me to love you forever (which I already do, so this is useless), please like my pathetic page.

And that'll do, donkeys. (Dude, did you know that's spelled with a Y? I spelled it donkies the first time, and just sat there and stared, trying to figure out why blogger underlined it. Wow.)

What's been swirling around in your gray matter that you just have to spew out?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Helpful Post of Helpful Helpfulness

Okay, so this week I promised you some helpful things. You know, so this blog isn't all about me. I thought about what I would say or do, and the only thing I could come up with my lame brain was this huge linkfest to all these amazing things on the Internet.

And then I remembered that that's not really my thing, and who really clicks on all those links anyway? I might click on one or two, but yeah. I'm not a huge clicker-outer. So I nixed that. And came up with...


How ghetto, right? Uh, yeah.

But I'm just going to say a couple of things. I read a lot of blogs. I email with a lot of people. I see/hear/read/feel that maybe we all just need a pick-me-up. So today, this post is for anyone who feels discouraged about this whole publishing thing. Or anyone struggling to find their way in writing. Or anyone who lacks the self-confidence to keep querying, write another sentence, start another book.

If you feel like you're swimming against the current, I say keep swimming. Don't give up. Take a deep breath, turn your face into the wind, and forge onward.

And that's all I've got.

What have you got to add? Favorite inspirational quotes? What do you do when you feel like throwing in the towel? What helps you to keep going?

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