3 S.R. Johannes: 2015

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

GrammoWriMO!

Comment for a chance to win a six-month Grammarly Premium account.

What is the one grammar/spelling thing you struggle with most??

What’s a GrammoWriMo?

Every November, thousands of writers hammer out words in an epic event called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Writers “win” by completing a 50,000 word novel draft in just 30 days. Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No. To date, over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

But not everyone can manage 50,000 words in a month. That’s one reason why Grammarly, the company behind the popular automated proofreader, created GrammoWriMo in 2013. People around the world use Grammarly software to refine their writing, so the company leveraged their status as a global resource to unite hundreds of writers from dozens of countries and cultures to craft a novel together.

In the first ever GrammoWriMo, about 300 writers collaborated on a group novel they submitted as a part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. Not only did they have to weave the voices of hundreds of different writers into one story, but they had just one month to complete the draft. The GrammoWriMo contributors embraced the challenge. The results? A well-written, cohesive novel, The Lonely Wish-Giver, follows the journey of a girl with the unique job of fulfilling wishes. In 2014, 500 new GrammoWriMo participants submitted their contributions. The resulting novel, Frozen by Fire, weaves the perspectives of multiple characters living in the Italian town of Pompeii in 79 C.E. during the time of the disastrous Mount Vesuvius eruption. Both are available as ebooks on Amazon.com, with proceeds benefitting charities.

Putting Grammarly’s Automated Proofreader to the Test

Each year, Grammarly puts their software to the test proofreading the GrammoWriMo draft. In 2014, they analyzed the results, uncovered the most common errors writers made, and summarized them in this infographic.

Grammowrimo five writing mistakes

Grammarly found that writers of all levels tended to misuse commas, which was the number one error. Incorrect capitalization came in a close second, followed by wordiness, and missing determiners such as “a,” “an,” and “the.” 

Why do talented wordsmiths make these pesky gaffes? Fiction writers often set grammar rules aside when they’re trying to stay in the creative flow. Add deadlines and you’ve got a writer who may not have time for the meticulous editing a manuscript requires. Grammarly provides writers with a “second set of eyes” to guide them through the proofreading process after all that fast-and-furious drafting is complete.

You’re the Writer

No program can replace a human editor making artistic and stylistic choices. Grammarly shines when helping the writer sort out the finer details—where to place that comma or how to tighten up a wordy sentence, for example. Whenever it detects an error, it provides an explanation card to guide the writer toward a conscious decision about what to edit and what to leave alone. Removing some of the obstacles to good writing frees the writer to move beyond nit-picking errors to focusing on the bigger picture of style and content. Give it a whirl on your next draft and see for yourself!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Epic Earth Day Reads! Environmental Themes in Books



Happy Earth Day! 
Environmental themes in YA can help young readers to feel a better connection to nature and inspire them to get involved with the environment. This is extremely important in today’s world, where nature is always competing for shelf-space with futuristic themes and a constantly updated stream of technology.
Nature is a part of everything around us and helps to make us who we are, and having that relationship reflected in YA books is a wonderful way to promote environmental awareness.
So what are a few environmental themes that we see in teen books?
Find out more at Hypable!

Comment or RT using @srjohannes and be entered in drawing for this Earth day prize ;)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Secondary Characters and Why They Matter

         So any author knows how hard it is to incorporate secondary characters into your plot. It's easy to get lost in your main character's personality and development and completely overlook your "side characters' " depth. But secondary characters are way more than pawns used to move a plot forward- in fact, secondary characters can add to your protagonist and the overall feel of your story as well. Here are a few reasons secondary characters are so important: 

1.  They can Foil your Protag



     If you have a really developed secondary character, he or she can help by being a foil to your protagonist. This is a simple way to move plot forward and keep your reader engaged- a foil (aka: opposite personality) to your lead is something that keeps a story well rounded. 

2.  They Move Plot Forward



    
    Well developed secondary characters can help move plot forward creatively. If you have a good team of side characters fully integrated into your protagonist's story, the plot will move smoothly to a solid finish. 


3. They Add Depth




    Of course, secondary characters add a lot of depth to the story. If it was only your protag and a few villains it wouldn't be interesting! Not only that, but with a variety of characters comes a variety of themes and deeply felt emotions. 

4. They Mix it Up



    Secondary characters help to add variety and fun to your story. If you only have two types of characters it would get very boring very fast! In order to keep your reader engaged and interested, you need a wide range of characters and each one needs to be somewhat relatable/easy to empathize with. This will progress your story and keep your audience on its toes! 


So those are a few reasons to really get cracking on your secondary character base! Hope they were helpful! If you have any further tips leave them in the comments below! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Nerd Problems

Book Nerd Problems 

As book nerds, there are some problems we deal with every day that other people just don't get. For instance, how are we expected to simply walk into a book store and only buy one book? Chance are we'll come ambling out under three armloads of bags and an empty pocket book. So, here is a better look at the problems all book nerds face!

1. We Can't Buy Just One Book 



2. If a Character Dies, a Piece of Our Soul Does Too



3. We Get Literally No Sleep






4. No Secondary Character is Safe



I hope some of you book nerds related to these! If you have anymore book nerd problems, post them in the comments below! 


Monday, March 02, 2015

Fun Book Clothes!

Fun Book Clothes!

This week while I was online, I found quite a few fun things to wear- book nerd style! Here are a few of my favorites that I thought were super creative- enjoy! 

The "I like big books and I cannot lie" sweatshirt. Perfect for winter and letting everyone know that the bigger the book the better: 




This ridiculously cool "book skirt." I don't know whose idea this was, but I approve: 




A print scarf. Um, yes please: 



This awesome Divergent shirt. Perfection down to the last faction: 



And, finally, this amazing Harry Potter tank that reminds us all where the series started:



I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did! I want to see some of these things on shelves, and certainly in my wardrobe.

Best and happy reading! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Indie Publishing

Indie Publishing Fun 


So I went scrounging around on the internet and found a few articles that answer some FAQs about Indie Publishing. They're awesome and quick reads that shed a little light on the Indie world, and thought that they might make for a good post! Here they are: 


1. Self-Publishing FAQ with Sarra Cannon


This is an awesome, technical article that answers some frequently asked Indie questions. Super helpful!


2. My Self-Publishing Journey: On Becoming an Indie Author


This article from Publisher's Weekly is a really cool story about one author's self-publishing journey.



3. Indie Publishing, Independent Publishing


This article from Abbott Press gives a few good pros of going Indie! 


So there are a few articles about Indie Publishing! There are tons of good resources out there that go into detail about the Indie world, and these are just a few short blurbs about it.

Best and happy reading! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Books to Movies

Books to Movies with Ashley

There are many new movies out lately based on books, and I thought it would be interesting to review a few of them here. So, without further ado, here are a few book-to-film translations and how I feel about them: 


1. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One




Four out of five stars. This movie was amazing and stuck to the book really well, and I thoroughly enjoyed the action and emotions. The camera angles were awesome and the scenes in the districts were heart-wrenching; Jennifer Lawrence is truly amazing. I did miss the action of the arena though, but all in all this was a fantastic adaptation.

2. Gone Girl 




Five out of five stars. I had not read the book before I saw the movie, which I never do, and I was blown away. The entire film was hilarious and gut-wrenching and just a twisting plot-rollercoaster. I highly recommend this movie to any and everyone (adults, that is).

3. The Maze Runner




Four out of five! I loved the movie so much, and the special effects were fantastic. The fact that the first book and the second book were pushed together a little helped forward the plot so well- the ending included a bit of book two, and it really did add to the ending. The boys were hilarious and the acting was spot on!

And there you have it, a few book to movie adaptations I loved. Of course, Gone Girl is for mature audiences only, but the other two are YA and good for all ages. Enjoy!

-Ashley 

PS: Here is a wonderful article on books to movies:


Thursday, February 19, 2015

CJ Omololu's The Third Twin Blog Tour has begin!

The Third Twin releases next Tuesday.


Tour Schedule

WEEK ONEFebruary 16th: Fictitious Delicious REVIEW
February 17th A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW
February 18th Bookish REVIEW
February 19th Novel Novice REVIEW
February 20th Good Choice Reading SPOTLIGHT

WEEK TWO
February 23rd: Once Upon A Twilight REVIEW
February 24th Fiktshun REVIEW
February 25th Two Chicks On Books SPOTLIGHT
February 26th A Midsummers Night Read REVIEW
February 27th Me, My Shelf and I REVIEW

Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It's Pretty Little Liarsmeets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia's guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they'd never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn't exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.

If you can,  join us in Oakland next Tuesday, Feb 24th for the launch!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Protags and Price-tags

Protags and Price-Tags

Hi everyone- Ashley here! So I have this thing where I like to decide where I think the protagonists of famous Young Adult books would shop (ergo: "Protags and Price-tags"). Basically I take various fiction icons and determine what stores they would like if they lived in the real world. For this first edition I'll be focusing on The Hunger Games- so, here goes!

1. Katniss Everdeen



Oh Katniss Everdeen, how we love you. I see Katniss shopping at one of those high-end sports stores with the climbing walls and running rivers inside the store. She'd probably shoot straight for the archery aisle, stopping to scale a few rocks in the meantime. And hey, if she gets hungry there's always beef jerky at the check out counter. Let's just hope there are no arenas involved.


2. Effie Trinket



So this one...this one is going to be good. I picture Effie walking into one of those vintage clothing stores you find in old town squares and literally buying everything without looking at any of it. Like, she just walks in, snaps her fingers, and goes home with a truck full of wigs and bulb-shaped dresses. Props for Effie.

3. Peeta Mellark 


Easy. Williams Sonoma without a doubt. He'd walk in, take one look at the free samples and jarred recipes, and probably pass out. Then after he woke up he'd demonstrate how to burn bread to all the customers watching. Classic Peeta.

4. Gale Hawthorne 



I could see him walking into one of those fancy men's clothing stores, putting on a nice suit, hating it, and eating a cheeseburger in the food court alone. He just wouldn't do malls very well.


5. Finnick Odair 



Okay, there's no doubt that Finnick would be one of those obnoxious Abercrombie and Fitch supermodels, the kind that look out at you from a ceiling-high poster. Let's face it, he'd smell like Axe and love it, and he'd smile from the front of your shopping bag the rest of the day.



So there it is! If you guys want me to do any other characters/book series, let me know in the comments below! ;) 


Monday, February 16, 2015

The Different Types of Book Lovers

The Different Types of Book Lovers 


Hello all, Ashley here! As a book lover you've probably noticed by now that there are many types of book lovers, of all sorts and kinds, and we love them all. Whether you're that one kid who reads nothing but sci-fi, or the girl in the corner with the newest Nora Roberts each week, we appreciate you. So, here is a list of the various types of book lovers out there (so far), and what they tend to reach for at the library.

1. YA Fanatic


Yes, the best kind of people, the YA fanatics. Those book lovers who love Young Adult novels are owning the spotlight right now, because YA is such a thriving community of love and rainbows and horribly misunderstood protagonists with supernatural powers. Seriously. If it's about a teenager whose touch can kill, has wings growing out of his or her back, or is suddenly blessed with the gift of foresight, we're probably into it. 




2. The Romantic


Not much to be said here, except go you. You love everything love triangle/breathtakingly impossible related and you're not afraid to own it. Most days you enjoy curling up with the newest Nicholas Sparks/Nora Roberts installment, and you don't even care that none of these people exist. Because they totally do, in your head. 

If you're a bird I'm a bird.



3. The Movie Goer


You make it your job to read the book before seeing the movie. Like, basically, if you were to see the movie first you might implode and the world would start rotating in the opposite direction. Because let's face it, the book is always better, and you want to be able to say that over and over again in the theater as accurately as possible. 

Honestly, you are a fantastic human being. 




4. The Classic Reader


So you're pretty much only interested in classic literature. And hey- that's cool! Bloodthirsty teenage arenas and kids with magic wands aren't your thing, and that's okay. You prefer the wise words of Dickens and Whitman and Austen- and you have every right to! You also really like watching Shakespeare and sipping tea from a china cup, but we won't judge (too hard).



5. And, Finally, the Comic Book/Manga Lover


You love everything that looks like it's moving on the page, and you aren't afraid to show it. If the characters have huge eyes, cool powers, and a variety of hilarious sidekicks, well, you're set! You're often seen hidden in the back of the library next to the graphic novel section, sitting in a pile of books and planning your next cosplay. 



And that's it! A few types of book lovers to look for. If you have any other types, leave them in the comments below!

Best,

-Ashley 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Some Exciting 2015 Releases!

Exciting 2015 YA Releases! 

So it's about a month into 2015, and there are all kinds of exciting new books coming out in the next few months! In order to spread my excitement for these upcoming releases, I thought I'd share a few of my most anticipated with you. Here they are, some books you should totally put on your preorder list!


1. Unleashed (Uninvited #2) by Sophie Jordan


Coming February, 2015! Davy is back and better than ever! I'm super excited to see what the HTS carrier does in this well anticipated sequel.




2. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (author of Cruel Beauty)


Coming May, 2015! I don't know about you, but I absolutely adored Cruel Beauty. And even though this isn't set in the same world, it sounds just as intriguing! Little Red gets a makeover in this amazing book, and I can't wait.





3. Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins 


Coming April, 2015! The action is back in the sequel to Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins! I'm looking forward to reading more of Harper Price's story.





4. The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige 


Coming March, 2015! The next installment of the Wizard of Oz inspired series is sure to entertain! If you haven't checked out The Witch Must Burn (a prequel novella in the series), be sure to before March! 



5. The Trials (Project Paper Doll #3) by Stacey Kade 


Coming April, 2015! It's the third installment of The Paper Doll Project (Book One: The Rules, Book Two: The Hunt). I love this series so much, and can't wait to see what happens in the third book. 


Monday, February 09, 2015

Struggles of Being an Extreme Book Lover

The Struggles of Being an Extreme Book Lover 


As hard core book lovers, we tend to get caught up in the ins and outs of every new book we read. They're pretty much like ink and paper extensions of our own being. Not only that, but we can be pretty picky about who borrows our books and for how long- anything past a week is just painful. So, naturally, there are quite a few things in this world that we book lovers must tolerate. Here are just a few:

1. The "Book in Lap" Trick 




Okay, we've all been there. You're supposed to be paying attention to something "important," but instead you've got the newest New York Times Bestseller in your lap. They'll never notice if you make eye contact occasionally, right? Wrong. They always catch you, and you always have to put it away.

2. Stairs




Walking with a book in your hands is a pretty universal trick for all book lovers, especially those of us extreme readers. But when your foot hits that invisible patch of air and your book goes flying...yeah, not so much. Stairs are the bane of every book-walker's existence.

3. The Questions...


It never fails that while you are sitting quietly reading, somebody will find you and ask you one (if not more) of these questions:

"What are you reading? Who's it by? What's the plot? What page are you on?"

Um, a YA fantasy, an indie author, page 394. Do you need to know what I had for breakfast, too? No? Good. We're done here.




4. Books to Movies




You all know what I mean by this one. No explanation necessary.




5. And, Finally, Sleep 


Okay, so maybe it isn't something we have to put up with, but us book lovers struggle with sleep every night. Sleep is that constant, nagging voice in the back of our heads that says, "You've already read five chapters, how much more could you need?" But do we listen? Nope. It will be 2am soon, the perfect hour to finish a novel I started six hours ago. Shut up, head.




So there are a few things extreme readers have to deal with on a daily basis! If you have any other daily obstacles that we book lovers face every day, feel free to leave them in the comments below.



Saturday, February 07, 2015

Why Writers Make Great Friends

Why Writers Make Great Friends


Now, that isn't to say that anyone of any other profession isn't a great friend, or doesn't do the things on this list- there's just something about writers that's just downright...well, out there. And that can make for some of the best times! As writers we have super creative brains that are on the go 24/7, and it's pretty hard to stop our imaginations once they're on a roll. So, without further ado, here are some reasons why being friends with a writer is never boring! 


1. We Make Any Situation Fun 




What is that you say? It's raining outside, your car won't start, and the power just went out in your house? Evil forces are attacking, I'll be right over! Oh? Not evil forces? Must just be a momentary lapse in the time/space continuum. My time machine can fix that.



2. We'll Put You in Our Books




Now, this one can be good or bad. But when it's good, that means you'll probably get a debut-best- friend-role in chapter four, complete with an awesome car and quirky personality. And probably some strange hair color that clashes with the social norm. Just go with it. 


3. We'll Act Weird in Public



There really isn't much that embarrasses us. We'll win any weird competition and then come back for more. When you spend all day every day thinking up strange characters and writing their life stories down, making faces in Walmart is kind of second nature. 

4. We're Empathetic


It's a writer's job to understand feelings and react to them. So if you're having a super bad day and need someone to listen, chances are we'll be there. Not only that, but we'll have thought of everything you need before hand- chocolate chip cookie-dough ice cream, anyone? Yeah, it's our writing snack of choice and we bought two.

5. And, Finally, We'll Write you Letters




Whether it's by snail mail or email, little post-it notes on the fridge or funny reminders on the bathroom mirror, you'll always have something to read. Writers deal with words every day and love to write them, so our communication method of choice is paper or screen. Besides, who doesn't want to get a letter?


So remember- the next time you're with your writer friend, feel free to crack a funny face and ask for a pint of ice cream. Chances are we'll have both.


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Social Media Tips and Why They Work

Social Media Tips and Why They Work

- with Ashley 


Lately I've been taking an online social media course with the Social Media Academy, and I must say, it is super helpful! The modules go into different aspects of social media management, audience outreach, campaigns, and strategies. So, in order to spread some of this knowledge, I've posted some of the notes I found most helpful below. I hope they're useful! 



* Three of the Most Important Values to Remember in Social Media: 



1) Creativity
2) Interaction
3) Leadership

Without creativity, interaction, and leadership, your social media strategy will not succeed. Creativity will bring your audience in, interaction will keep them, and leadership will gain their trust. 


* Flexibility and Evolution is Key




If you can remain flexible and evolve with the "social media times," if you will, then you can bend to your audience and keep them happy. You must remain on top of your game and change with the changing industry in order to keep your followers and likes. 

* Remember to Measure Your Success


Measurement and social media metrics are super important to your strategy! Implement tools such as TweetDeck and TweetReach in order to see who you are reaching and what they like. Different values you can measure are: 

1) Reach
2) Engagement 
3) Acquisition 
4) Conversion 
5) Influence


So there are a few notes that helped me immensely! You can find all of these awesome ideas on the Social Media Academy, and it is a great way to get high quality social media training quickly. 

All the best!

-Ashley 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

CJ Omololu - my friend, Top Cancer Ass Kicker, and author of the new The Third Twin - Spread the Word!

I met Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu about 5 or 6 years ago in LA. We'd known each other for years online and built a great friendship. (I think it was in FriendMatch.com that connected us or Blogger :)

When we met, we s sat down to have a drink and I ordered my usual filthy martini. She laughed and said she was surprised. She went on to tell me this story she made up in her head - that she thought I was an Ann Taylor marketing business gal who only wore pink suits with matching shoes and purse who drank pink cosmos.Those who know me know I am far from pretty in pink. I am jeans and boots who drinks filthy martinis and coffee.

A few things stuck out to me that day that made me adore CJ -
1) I had to like her b/c she obviously spent many nights thinking about me ;) so I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
2) She is OBVIOUSLY creative as hell and makes up great stories - she did with me.
3) She's a little wackadoo too. Which sells me even more b/c I am far from normal on the bell curve.
4) She immediately made me feel comfortable and listened to my publishing woes, laughed at my bad jokes, and insisted on being my friend. (She's pushy that way ;)

Since then, we have:
 - Roomed at conferences where she has generously shared her portable Kuerig, flavored cream and strong coffee with me (and yes...she drags that dang thing with her everywhere. Where most people would have loves to snuggle, CJ sleeps with her mini-kuerig. In fact - Kuerig should call her for a commercial and pay all her med bills for the free PR she has given them!)
- Shared stories - funny ones and the ones we write. She has been a great CP in the past, always offering great suggestions (and twists) in my own work.
- Stayed with me at the Writers Police Academy where we fingerprinted each other and tested blood stains ( - so we also share a sick humored mind! only writers will appreciate this part!)
- Shared her lovely home and family with me. Her husband made me coffee too. I swear they probably grow their own coffee beans.
- Made delicious salmon and sauteed green been dinner for me.
- Introduced me to her lovely dog…ok I can't make this all rosy just b/c she's battling cancer! That "sweet" (he would never hurt anyone even if you came in the house with a key) kind of dog chased my butt upstairs and cornered me in my bedroom until Tae had to rescue me! (Thx Tae :)
- She has made me laugh, seen me cry over this strange industry, given me words of encouragement, and stayed up late with me talking b/c I could not go to sleep!

So the fact that some asshole named Cancer barges in and wants to take her away from me - pisses me off to no end.

Interrupted by bad movie clip from Independence day! -

"The world declared in one day! We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoLywiaM6PA

So - a bunch of us are throwing a launch party for her and spreading the word about her new book across the country. It is important that everyone in this world knows about CJ Omololu, The Third Twin, her total wacky awesomeness, and her deep resonating words.

Because as a writing community, that's what we do for friends, authors and books - we support them always no matter what!

So please share this flyer with your community. Join our Facebook page, preorder her new book, and come to the launch party to help CJ celebrate her new baby - The Third Twin.

And while you are at it - a couple prayers couldn't hurt either.

(Take that Mr. Cancer! jerk hat...)