Friday, May 25, 2012

Contest with YA Book Giveaway

Want to win the YA book of your choice? Hop on over to my personal blog where I'm hosting a contest of a different kind. HINT: It involves curse words. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

YA Book Cover Trends

All around awesome writer and blogger Kate Hart did a comprehensive analysis here of 2011 YA book covers. I can't even imagine the time it took her to compile all this info. She told me she doesn't watch television at all, but this was still an enormous task to take on. Her study yielded results from the interesting (blue is the most common color of traditionally published YA books) to the sad (the downright dismal amount of ethnic diversity in cover models).

Kate followed this up with another post that clarified some reader questions, and addressed what writers can do to help--especially writers who are white (like me). It's very thought-provoking and has me thinking about my own responsibility as an author. Though I have characters in my books who are ethnically and sexually diverse (LGBT), I'm not sure how much control I'd have over the covers. Per Kate's post, even mega-author John Green admitted not loving several of his book covers. I'm not sure what the answer is but Kate poses some great questions that we, as writers, need to keep asking.

Have you read these posts? What are your thoughts on these issues? Anyone else happy to see the decrease in dead girl covers?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Release Date for SUFFOCATE by S.R. Johannes

It is May 21st and guess what that means?

S.R. Johannes’ Suffocate is out today! 

Suffocate is the first novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 15,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres.

Here’s a little about the novelette…

“For centuries, the world outside the Biome has been unlivable. Today, marks the first time anyone will attempt to leave the suffocating ecosphere. Eria is not worried because her scientist father has successfully tested the new Bio-Suit many times. It's a celebratory day until something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of tragedy, Eria uncovers a deep conspiracy that affects the very air she breathes. 

If those responsible find out what she knows, they won't stop hunting her until she takes her last breath.”

The 2nd novella in the series, CHOKE, is scheduled for Fall 2012. The 3rd, EXHALE, is scheduled for Winter 2013.

You can purchase Suffocate for only 99 cents at

Also you can add it on Goodreads! -

And in case you were wondering here is a bit about the author –

S.R. Johannes is author of the Amazon Bestseller Untraceable and a current nominee of the Georgia Author of the Year in the Young Adult category. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her goldendoodle Charley (notice he is listed first :), her British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.  You can find her hanging out online and visit her at


Friday, May 18, 2012

Twitter Tips

After joining Twitter about a year or so ago, I have to say that I love it. This says a lot coming from someone who was reluctant to join the social media scene--I was the last person in my book club to join Facebook and only did so due to peer pressure. I'm on Twitter much more than Facebook these days because I like the immediate back and forth it allows between people, and I enjoy the constant stream of information. NOTE: If you don't yet follow me on Twitter, you can do so here. All the cool kids are. ;) Here are a few tips I thought I'd pass along, and please add your own observations/tips in the comments:

1) Share useful information. I love it when people pass along informative links or RT articles on the publishing industry.
2) Engage with others. Though it's great to share, don't solely rely on RT's and links to other things. Spend some time engaging with your fellow writers and industry peers.
3) Be yourself. The people that I enjoy following the most are those that seem to just be themselves. Whether you are naturally interesting, witty, or funny--embrace it and do that. Trying to present as something other than you are comes through.

1) Promote your book constantly. One of the few things that will cause me to immediately unfollow someone is if they follow me and I follow them back--only to get a "message" a minute later asking me to buy their book or check out their site. Don't do this!
2) Follow people just so they'll follow you back, and then unfollow them to jack up your numbers. Rather than making you look popular, you look like a [insert favorite curse word]. NOTE: People reading this post are clearly awesome people who don't do this.
3) Don't exclude. Even if I can't follow everyone back (because it's only possible to keep track of so many people in my feed), I always respond to @replies. Unless you're Neil Gaiman, you are not too cool for school, and will come across as a [insert favorite curse word] when you are only seen interacting with published writers.

What are your Twitter tips? Do you autofollow everyone? Share below.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Blitz

Hi all--hop on over to my other blog to see why I'm participating in The Bookshelf Muse's ROAK Blitz and why I chose my wonderful blog Sisters (Valerie and Lacey) here at Sisters in Scribe as gift recipients. HINT: They're made of awesome! Now go out there and commit a random act of kindness for someone!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Are You Here?

Wired has a great interview with Joss Whedon. It's very long, but a great read if you're a fan of his, or interested in his thoughts on writing, characters, and plot. Here's the part that I want to talk about though, it's about characters and their motivations:

"...everybody is here for a reason and they deserve, while they’re on film, or on the page, for people to know what it is, even if we don’t like it."

Reading this made me feel good because it's something I've always tried to do with both my characters and my plot. I think it's important that in any scene you write, you should be able to turn to each character there and ask "Why are you here?" and they should have an answer. Whether the reason is personal, "I'm here because I love him." or not, "This is my English class, I have to be here." they should be there for some reason that has to do with THEM, and not your plot. If I ask and my character answers, "I'm here because you need me to overhear this argument so that later I can use that info to solve the mystery." then, in my opinion, I've failed to make him three-dimensional, he's merely a plot device in the shape of a person.

Every character, whether they're the main character or one who pops in for one scene, should have a full life, regardless of how much we see of it. When people appear only to prove a point, or drop a clue, or to tell us something about the main character, the whole world of your story feels a little less real.

Achieving this can be tricky. You don't want a minor character to walk into a scene and say, "I'm here because this is my English class, where I'm supposed to be, and I just noticed that your hair looks different." Subtlety is key. This is one of those things where the reason doesn't always have to be spelled out on the page, but YOU need to know it. When you know why a character is there, it shows in your writing, and scenes feel more real.

When it comes to plot points, I always check that all the characters involved are there for a reason, and not because I NEED them to be there in order for the story to move forward. Without that reason -- personal or practical, things can feel "too convenient" or false. You want those moments to feel inevitable, where your readers can almost see it coming, as they weave all the pieces together, and they think, oh no!, at the same time that they think, of course they would all end up in this place just as the bomb goes off, it couldn't be any other way.

Because that's the moment that really connects with the reader. That's where the emotional connection to the story comes in. When they can look back at everything each character has done, and know that this is exactly the way it has to be, because they understand why each character has done what they've done so far, and why they're there at that moment. Without that it's just another thing moving the plot along.

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