Wednesday, May 29, 2013

All Day Q&A!

It's my first Q&A post-debut! Yay! I guess that means if you've read TRANSPARENT you could, like, ask about it. Whoa. But as you know, you can ask me anything, and I will answer you in comments. Sometimes I will answer you at length if you ask the right question and I get rambling. You've been warned.

All questions asked before I wake up tomorrow (May 30th) will be answered. You may ask multiple questions, follow-up questions, whatever. Q&A day is YOUR day, guys. Take advantage as much as you'd like.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

J.R. Johansson's Deep Dark Secret (Plus HUGE Giveaway!)

I am so pleased to be hosting one of Jenn's stops on her giant pre-order giveaway. She has been a close friend for years now, and her novel INSOMNIA is so wonderfully creeptastic you don't want to miss out on it. Also, you don't want to miss a chance to win your very own Nook HD! Um, awesome prize or what? All you have to do is pre-order the book and enter on the form below!

For this stop on her giveaway hop, Jenn is revealing a deep dark secret. And it's pretty shameful, guys, considering how much she loves to scare the pants off other people.

Take it away, Jenn!

I’m a thriller author with a deep dark secret. Scary movies have always terrified me. I know, I know, it doesn’t make any sense. I write scary stuff, I should be able to watch it, right? This is one reason I resisted the idea that I should write dark stuff when my project started heading that direction. I kept thinking: I can’t even handle watching it, how can I write it?

But I can, and I do, and I love it.

There is something very different about creating the scariness. I can control it. And now that I’ve learned that, I started watching scary movies again and even though they still freak me right out, I like it a lot more than I used to. Maybe because part of my brain feels like it’s learning something at the same time, so I can’t be fully scared. Either that or I just scream, hide behind the couch cushions…and THEN take notes on how they did it. 

J.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author published with Flux & FSG/Macmillan. Her debut, INSOMNIA is coming June 2013. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she's not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she's nearly drowning in testosterone.

To Pre-Order:
The Book Depository
Books A Million
Barnes & Noble
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 24, 2013

Forced Sabbatical. Oh, and some links.

The day after TRANSPARENT came out, I found myself checking social media sites over and over to see if people were talking about it. Constantly refreshing my pages. New messages gave me a high. No messages made my stomach hurt because it must be some kind of sign.

I've felt this before.

It's been a long time since I've felt it, but I recognized it pretty quickly as that obsessive/compulsive act that got me in a lot of mental trouble a few years back. So I asked my tech master husband to block social media sites from our computer for a little while—a forced detox, if you will.

I'll be back Wednesday, doing a my Q&A on here. In the meantime, here are some sites featuring TRANSPARENT. Some have giveaways, so you might want to check those out:

Kiersten White: Giving away an ARC of THE CHAOS OF STARS if you bought TRANSPARENT.

Mindy McGinnis: Giving away a TRANSPARENT prize pack (book, Pop Tart necklace, sunglasses, bookmarks).

Literary Rambles: Giving away an ebook of TRANSPARENT

Beth Revis: Featuring some of my own TRANSPARENT art—Fiona on her first day of school.

Friday The Thirteeners: Featuring all three art pieces I did for TRANSPARENT's release.

Jessica Spotswood: Fun three-word style interview with me.

Pitch Dark Days: Kiersten White interviews me about TRANSPARENT

Author's Think Tank: Podcast featuring me. I talk about how I got published.

Okay, I think that's enough Me Links for one day. Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend! (And, you know, I have this book that would be a great read...haha.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Transparent Is OUT. I am PUBLISHED.

Of course I had to do a special drawing for the occasion! This is Fiona's view of the Taco Bell scene, which is one of my favorites in the book. There is also another special art piece up at Beth Revis' blog! Check it out.

So. My book is out now.

Actually, I'm writing this ahead of time, which makes it hard to know exactly how I'll feel when I wake up on May 21st knowing that TRANSPARENT will hopefully be stocked in stores, that pre-orders will be shipped and the buy buttons online will work. The thought right now is...surreal.

I know, I've had over two years to internalize the idea that I actually sold a book and it's actually going to be purchasable and maybe even people will BUY it and READ it. But part of it still doesn't feel real. Even now, as the day is upon me. I keep waiting for it to feel real—I'm starting to wonder if that might never happen. Maybe it will always feel like a dream, fragile and impossible and just out of reach. Or maybe it'll eventually sink in, that this thing I've been working towards for the last 8 years has finally happened.

Eight years, guys. Pretty much the entirety of my twenties. I remember when I was entering my last year of college at the ripe old age of 21, married and pregnant because that's how Mormons roll, dude. I was finishing my last classes for my degree in English linguistics and my minor in editing. The fact that I was almost done hit me right in the face.

What now?

That question kept coming back over and over. School was all I'd known, and now not only was I going to be a new mom but I would be someone that didn't have to go to class and take tests and what was life outside that? Even my campus job would have to be abandoned, since I was graduating. And I loved working at that magazine like whoa.

I would soon have a degree and a baby and a new life ahead of me. All those plans and goals I'd worked towards were suddenly on the verge of being accomplished. What now? What comes after the "happily ever after"?

I had no idea.

So I did what any over-acheiver does when they've completed their list of goals—I made another list. It was a very grown up list that I certainly didn't feel ready for, but I made it anyway because I'm not the kind of person who can function without a clear direction. It went something like this:

• Learn 3 languages (I was an English linguistics major, after all)
• Travel to Japan and New Zealand at least once (Someday. Some. Day.)
• Buy a house (Again: Some. Day.)
• Write 6 novels before I die
• Publish at least 1 novel

That was it. Not a long list, right? I was both surprised and scared about how short it was at first. And more than that, I felt...ashamed, almost, that writing had 2/5ths of the list despite my best efforts to pretend I didn't want to write a book. (Apparently I wanted to write 6. Ha. I don't know why I picked 6. I hate even numbers, ugh.) I'd tried to be practical about writing. I knew it wasn't something easy to actually do as a career. And yet when I was being honest with myself that was all I ever wanted to do—I just didn't have the courage to do it.

Well, I was a poor college student, so I couldn't buy a house or travel. I was already learning French, so I figured I was good there. Which kind of left the whole writing thing as the goal I could actively pursue.

I started writing an old idea from my high school days. I called this "actively pursuing" though I wrote when I felt like it and didn't really tell people I was writing. It was just for fun. Back then I was okay with that.

I don't want to get too long here, so I'll skip the year and a half it took to write that book and my first attempts at querying. Let's just say after my first 5 rejections I was about to wuss out on the whole venture—I was sure I wasn't cut out for publishing. I would write as a hobby and read and live my life happy with that. Eventually I'd get to my 6 written books and my kids would read them when I was dead and that was more than enough.

Then came one of those tiny moments that turn out to be big moments. Turning points, if you will. I was at Barnes & Noble buying books. Once I'd gotten my stack, I perused the notebook section because I'm a notebook junkie and that's what we do. A gold bookmark with orange lettering caught my eye (I do love me some orange.). It simply said:

"Go confidently in the directions of your dreams!" —Henry David Thoreau

This one little line turned my world upside down. Here I was about to give up before I'd even really started. Why? Because I wasn't confident I could do it. I was never a confident person by nature. Doubt still plagues me daily. The idea of striding towards my dreams with my head held high—exclamation point and everything—blew my mind. Was that even possible? Was that how people got what they wanted? Maybe I was doing things wrong. Maybe I needed to believe in myself more.

Yes, all this from one little bookmark. Which I bought and then promptly lost. Of course.

But I never forgot that quote. I put it by my computer. Then on my blog when I made one. My mom has even made an art quilt with those words on it just for me. (Because she's awesome like that.)

So I decided to keep trying, even though writing and putting myself out there to get hurt was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

It did not go well. For a long time.

I have over 200 rejections logged over 4 separate projects. I spent years in the query trenches trying to figure out what the crap I was doing wrong (Answer: my writing sucked and I had a lot to learn.). I wrote 8 books over the space of about 2 years (DO NOT do that. Bad, bad idea.). I spent 9 months editing that book #8 for an agent before he offered representation, only the have that book not sell to a single editor over the space of 15 months.

Go confidently? Ha. By the time I'd gone through all that, I had no idea what confidence even looked like anymore.

But hey, I did write those 6 books I wanted to write before I died! Didn't have anything else on that short list, but 1 out of 5 wasn't so bad.

By the time I went on submission to editors with TRANSPARENT (my 10th novel), I had one foot out the publishing door. This was it, because I couldn't keep doing this to myself, I thought. The supposed pay off was fast losing to the emotional anguish. I was tired. Beat. Done. If this book failed, I figured I could walk away knowing I gave it a good honest effort. I started when I was 21—and I was 27 when TRANSPARENT when out. I'd spent enough of my life trying for this goal. More than my time in college. The entirety of my marriage and children's lives.

Then it sold. And I had to wait two more years for it to come out. So I had a baby because why not? Now the day is here—the day I get to cross off that silly goal I made 8 freaking years ago.

Publish at least 1 novel

Wow. I had no idea how long it would take me to do that, or if I even would. And I even have another book coming out next year. Though I've been through the wringer to get here, I did it. TRANSPARENT may not be a huge book, but it's the culmination of almost a decade of my life dedicated to one seemingly-impossible goal.

I will never claim to be a great writer. I'm not sure I have any natural talent for it. But I did work my butt off to become good at it. My hard knocks taught me. And I suppose that idea of "Going confidently" never left me, because there were many times I should have given up and didn't. Perhaps deep down inside, I really did believe all along that I could make it happen. And it did. Not at all in the way I imagined it would. But it did.

Today I'm going to be proud of all my bumps and bruises, because I am officially a published author. Thanks to everyone who's been there for me along this bumpy road—I wouldn't have gotten here without your support.

What now? Well, I guess it's time to travel and learn some new languages.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Holy Crap Tomorrow! Here's A Bunch Of Links!

Guys, the fact that my countdown widget says ZERO DAYS and some odd hours is freaking the crap out of me. Like, TOMORROW. It's coming. And my book will be out and there will be panicked yet excited flailing. Also, if you're coming to The King's English Launch party, let them know so there will be enough chairs. And if you can't make it, you can pre-order TRANSPARENT from them and I will sign and personalize it for you! It's like you came, but you didn't have to stand in line or hear me ramble.

I will have a super long post (plus a special drawing!) up tomorrow, but today I wanted to share a few links to fun things about TRANSPARENT and me that are already up. And there will be many more on debut day, of course. You are going to get a serious dose of me this week, sorry. Just know I don't expect you to read everything. Or anything!

First, one of the biggest newspapers in Utah featured a review of TRANSPARENT! In the actual paper, as you can see in the picture here, there is a rather gigantic picture of me that makes me laugh. Major thanks to local blogger/reviewer Emily Ellsworth for surprising me with the feature.

Second, there's a pretty great interview (if I do say so myself) with me about TRANSPARENT on Literary Rambles today! They asked me some fabulous questions about the research behind my novel, transitioning between agents, and more. PLUS you can follow/comment for a chance to win an electronic copy of my book.

And last but not least, Author's Think Tank invited me to join them for my very first podcast ever! It was so fun to talk with them about my "Long Road To Publication," and if you get a chance to listen you might learned some details I've never mentioned on the blog before.

That's it for today. I'm off to practice the drawings I'll be doing at my launch party. Because I'm crazy like that.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Final Transparent Teaser! Plus I'm On A LIST.

Great news! TRANSPARENT made the Summer 2013 Kids' Indie Next list! (Scroll all the way to the bottom for mine—gotta love being a "Wh," right? I've had a "W" last name my whole life so I'm totally used to rocking the end of the line.) I'm really excited about this because Indie bookstores are awesome—they are so passionate about books, so to be highlighted by them feels amazing.

And on that note, I give you the 10th and final teaser in my TRANSPARENT quote series! The book is out next week, so I will be spending the weekend finishing up a special drawing for my debut day post. Ah! It's so crazy close now I can barely believe it. I'm gonna need to buy like two cases of Code Red to get through this.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Transparent Teaser #9! Bad Things & Love

I have other exciting news I think I can talk about today, but for now the quote! One of my favorites in the book, actually.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Transparent Teaser #8! Surprise Feels.

GUYS. TRANSPARENT is just hours away from being official in the UK! I'm so excited and freaking out and I will totally be able to stay up until midnight London time, haha. 

If I haven't made it clear yet, my UK publisher Hot Key Books has been utterly fabulous to work with. I feel super lucky to have had two great publishers working to bring TRANSPARENT to the English-speaking world. 

So without further ado, I bring you teaser #8, in which Fiona realizes her feelings for someone are way more...romantic...than she thought they were.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Transparent Teaser #7! Awkward Friendships!

Ah, the awkward beginning of a beautiful friendship. Maybe it's because I always struggled to make friends, but I love writing about the sometimes rocky pathway to becoming friends with someone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Teaser #5! Fiona & Brady Connect

My countdown widget says 10 days. Kiiiiiiinda starting to freak out. I mean, TEN DAYS. *flails*

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Transparent Teaser #4! With Invisible Spit!

This is from one of my most favorite conversations in the book, when Fiona is trying to explain the specifics of her ability to her new friend Bea. It's pretty much one of the weirdest exchanges I've ever written, which is saying something.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Transparent Quote #2

Eep! Two weeks from today I'll be prepping for my launch party. WEIRD.

And speaking of, have you told The King's English that you're coming (if you are)? And if you can't come, you can pre-order TRANSPARENT from TKE and I will sign and personalize it just for you! It's like being at the launch, but without having to hear me ramble.

Anyway, to the quote!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Transparent Quotes!

Hi! There are only two weeks until TRANSPARENT is out in the US! (Only NINE DAYS if you're in UK. Holy. Crap. Single digits.) Picture me running around in circles trying to get All The Things done. Anyway, in honor of the two week mark, I've decided to share a quote a day from TRANSPARENT. I've even dolled them up all purty-like in Photoshop.

Feel free to share it wherever you'd like. (Hint hint.) I'll be cross posting all over the place, so sorry if you get tired of seeing them!

Quote #1: