3 S.R. Johannes: August 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Feed Your eReader Blog Hop: Win 20 ebooks!

Thanks for stopping by my blog during the I Am a Reader, Not a Writer's "Feed Your Reader" Blog Hop!

I'm the award-winning author of the wilderness thriller, Untraceable, Book 1 in The Nature of Grace series. 

WINNER OF 2012 INDIEREADER DISCOVERY AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he's dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she's enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it's going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

The sequel Uncontrollable comes out Sept 24th!

From Aug 23 - Aug 29th, you can enter my 20 ebook giveaway! You will receive 20 ebooks from the Indelibles. To check out all our books, go here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go to the Blog Hop to enter for to Win a Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet or other Ereader of your choice (Up to $200) 

Want a chance to win MORE ebooks? Follow the list below my Rafflecopter form to go to other great websites on the blog hop!

Feed Your eReader Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finding the Emotional Truth in Historical Fiction (Vicky Alvear Shecter)

 Today, Vicky Alvear Shecter (author of Cleopatra's Moon) is here to talk about historical fiction.


“All novels are emotional autobiographies.” I can’t remember who said that, but it hit home when I heard it.

So true.
And yet, finding the emotional truth in historical fiction—in places and times very different from our own—can be a challenge. When I started on my YA historical fiction novel, Cleopatra’s Moon for example, I remember thinking, how could I possibly have anything in common with an ancient teenage princess of Egypt whose mother was Cleopatra and whose father was the famous Roman general Mark Antony?
Physically? Not a damn thing. Emotionally? To my surprise, quite a bit. Let me explain with some examples:

-       Cleopatra Selene, my main character, is ripped from everything she knows and loves when she is sent from Egypt to Rome. She never returns to Egypt (as far as we know). I evoked my own memories of displacement when my mother, for various soap opera-ish, moved us from Ecuador to Miami without any warning or preparation.  If I hadn’t experienced such a life-altering move, I would’ve called upon my reactions to moving to a new school or new neighborhood to imagine what it felt like for Selene.

-       As a result of the upheaval, Selene becomes even more fiercely attached and protective of her brothers.  My brothers and sister and I experienced an intense “closing of the ranks” during our across-the-world move, which affected how I expressed Selene’s response. Any “us versus them” childhood experience could be called upon.

-        Cleopatra Selene worries that she might not ever be as striking and charismatic as her mother (Cleopatra was no beauty but her magnetism and charm were legendary). She fears she won’t measure up and that, somehow, she’ll end up disappointing everyone.  I too had (have) a beautiful, elegant mother and when, as a teen it became clear that I would never be as tall or as thin, I had similar fears. Teens often worry that they’ll never live up to the expectations others have for them.  What were yours?

-       The first time Cleopatra Selene is taken to see her mother after learning about the death of a family member, she wants to run. It terrifies her to see her mother so wracked by grief. I drew on my memories of a similar grieving experience.  But I could’ve also recalled what it felt like to witness a grown-up expressing any strong emotion for the first time.

-       Cleopatra Selene struggles with spirituality. I imagined that she was brought up with faith in both the Greek and Egyptian gods and that she had a special affinity for Isis. When she learns about the Judeo-concept of free will, she wrestles with its implications. That struggle becomes the focal point of her emotional growth. When I was a teen, I too struggled with making sense of the different religions in my life—Catholic in Ecuador and Jewish in my grandmother’s house. Even if your faith has never wavered, you could draw upon your emotional reaction to the first time you heard something that directly contradicted everything you’d ever been taught. 

-       Cleopatra Selene falls in love with an important historical character who also happens to be a brilliant writer and scholar. This, I don’t need to explain. Haven’t most of us fallen for the hot, brooding ‘English major’ type at least once in our high school or college lives? ;-)

When you have no direct experience to draw upon for a scene, create one. For example, observing my own reactions to reading about the experiences of girls in radical Muslim countries helped me articulate Selene’s outrage to the restrictions she faces when she is forced to live in Rome.
Mining your “emotional autobiography” is important in all fiction, of course, but it’s even more so in historical. The emotional connection to the protagonist is the bridge by which we travel back in time. And, hopefully, what keeps the reader turning pages.

Vicky’s novel, Cleopatra’sMoon, won the Southern Breeze Crystal Kite award and was named to Bankstreet's list of Best Books of the Year for 2012. In the upcoming WIK conference, Vicky will share more of her secrets for transforming dry facts into juicy stories. You can find her hanging out online at her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

 What historical character/figure do you think you connect most with?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Marketing ebook and my WIP

In Breaking News

My marketing book, "Marketing My Words - a writers guide to bestselling book promotion", is finally available. 

I did this book mostly for my blog followers who have asked me to put my posts and interviews and tips - all into one easy guide. It comprises revised marketing posts as well as brand new articles and topics. It also includes over 20 interviews from the industry's top agents, editors, and authors. (thank you to all of them for granting permission ;)

The book covers basics of branding, online marketing, social networking, and how to create a marketing strategy from scratch. It is available Kindle and Nook. It will also be available in paperback in a couple days for those who like to have references on hand at their desk.

This is not pages and pages of marketing theory. This is an easy guide - specifically for writers - on how they can get started on their own marketing. In this industry, writers are expected to wear more than a writers hat.

Barnes and Noble (should be up soon)

Hope you like it!


When I sat down about 6 months ago to write Uncontrollable, I must say I was not looking forward to getting into it. You see Untraceable took me three years and over 10 revisions to get to where it is today.

This time - I did it differently. This time I spent time plotting. Then went on a week retreat to focus on my book 24/7. It is amazing what you can get done 1) without kids and 2) when there is nothing pulling away your attention (laundry, cooking, pta, kids, dr appts). It was one long week, writing 12 hour days. Awesome!

And if I do say so myself - I came out of that a great draft. I've sent it off to 4 beta readers over the last few months and besides some cleaning up and expanding out points, the plot was solid. Now, as I sit in final edits before it goes off to copyeditors, I've realized how much further I have come as a writer.

What took me three years before has taken me less than a year. But more importantly, my first draft was 50% there. The characters, the plot, and the setting all fell into place. Now granted, this could be because (1) it is a series so I know Grace's voice and who she is (2) I'm a better writer that I was 5 years ago when I started Untraceable or 3) just pure luck.

But I did sit down and plot this book out from the beginning. Now, I was always the one who didn't want to outline. To be creative and take it as it comes. But looking back, I think my plot paid for it which forced my book through major rewrites - which in turn make me sick of that book by the time it was on submission with my agent.

Now as i wrap up this book to move onto the next, I am loving how this book turned out. It's very tedious in this final round especially in a mystery/thriller, making sure there are no lose ends but I think this was a much easier writing process and I must say - I enjoyed it much more than I did with my other books.

I look forward to writing more now that I think I have found a system that works for me.

You can read a sneak peek of Uncontrollable or add it to your Goodreads. Releasing on Sept 24th!

What works for you? Any special tricks? Are you a plotser or pantser?

Here are a few other people talking about WIPs today:
 MohadohaJH GlazePatricia LynneRhiannon Johnson and Julie Christine. 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bookanistas: Cover Luv!

Here are some recent covers that I think are amaze-balls!!

Hysteria by Megan Miranda (Walker Childrens) - Feb 5th, 2013 

Wow this cover is spooky. When I first saw it I could not stop staring at it. Is it a headless girl or a girl hidden behind some strange painting. I know what the book is about and it's perfect. Gives you that creepy feel that Megan infuses into her books so well. 

Mallory’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear . . .
When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips. Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?
goodreads Book Stalking: Hysteria by Megan Miranda
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Harper) - March 12, 2013

Seriously? This is bada$% cover. The way her face peels away in pixels says so much about this book. I cannot wait to read this.

Pitched as a "Bourne Identity"-type sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government, and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions.

A few other honorable indie mentions :)

Ali Cross Desolation series, Book 2 Desolate (Out now!) And her first in the series Become is free!

COVER: Love the despair of this. An angel being struck down from heaven. I loved Ali's first book and can't wait to see what is in store 

Where darkness lives, all will become desolate.

It’s been two months since sixteen-year-old Desolation Black chose Earth over Hell and her friend Miri over her eternal love, Michael. 

Desi goes through the motions of life: school, training, remaining vigilant against the forces of darkness, but her dreams are full of the choices she wishes she could change. When she’s injured by a strange demon, old temptations arise, and the lines between good and evil blur. Desi discovers those choices aren’t so final after all.

And this time, the power of love—for a friend, for a lover—may not be enough to save her from the darkness that lurks within

The Sundering - Megg Jensen (coming Sept 2013). You can go ahead and get ready by starting the The Swarm series with SleepersBook 1 (free right now!) and Afterlife - Book 2 

COVER: This is just spooky. People with white hair freak me out! And the eyes. Love this.

After defeating the Malborn and losing the person she loved most, Lianne escapes to Chase's homeland. With her appearance forever marked by death, Lianne feels like a monster both on the outside and the inside. She retreats into herself, fearful of what she's become.

But she can't hide forever.