The Self-Isolation Book Sale

What We Need Covers

I’ll be honest, the first time I saw someone on Tumblr with their plague/apocalypse novel on sale because of the coronavirus pandemic, I thought, “Really? Marketing at a time like this?”

But really, a lot of us are stuck at home with only our hobbies to occupy us–it’s not clear yet to me how much I’ll actually be working at my day job in the near future, and I’ve got my writing as well as a number of crafts to keep me occupied, but I know a lot of people out there are looking for new reads and are interested in whistling in the dark by reading post-apocalyptic fiction right now.

So here I am, with a sale to offer. The digital first title in my PA/romance trilogy, What We Need to Survive, is on sale today (or whenever Amazon updates it) for $0.99, down from $3.99. The omnibus edition, What We Need: The Complete Series, is on sale for $4.99, down from $7.99.

I will probably run this sale until at least the end of March, possibly longer, because in the past Amazon has been timely in updating lowered prices but surprisingly slow at updating raised prices, and not just in my experience, many authors have said the same. We’ll see!

If you want to know more about the works themselves, their blurbs can be found on the “My Books” page.

As for whether or not this stressful time is a good time to read them? I’ll be honest, it probably depends on your own personal reaction to the current crisis. The fictional and highly unrealistic plague-doomsday I wrote is meant to be the set dressing for the world I created, not the point of the story. So the actual illness plays a very small part in the plot (I never even go in depth into its symptoms!) and is entirely relegated to character backstories that get shared in the present, several months after the plague strikes.

The point of the story is the romance, and hope for the future growing out of the world that remains.

But that post-plague world is a grim one, and may hit a little too hard for anyone who’s more on the “terrified” end of the spectrum right now, rather than the milder “anxious and inconvenienced” end. I realize my privilege in this respect: I both in a low-risk group for the illness itself, and I am financially stable enough at the moment that whatever loss of income I do or don’t experience based on my day job in the next few weeks isn’t going to sink me. But that’s not true for a lot of people, and I don’t recommend indulging in post-apocalyptic fiction, mine or anyone else’s, if you’re more frightened than not.

If it sounds interesting but you’re not ready to read it now, I get that. Stick it on your TBR and read something lighter, I support you.

But if you’ve got some time to fill, and a character-driven romance in an unusual setting with some high stakes sounds like an adventure worth having, I’ve got you covered!

 

The Book Robin Hoods: More Reviews in the Bag!

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I’m starting to see results from all those copies of What We Need to Survive I’ve been sending out to reviewers through TBRH. Yeah, okay, one of them was just a two-star, but that’s going to happen–not everyone is going to like my work, and that’s okay!

But I got a pretty glowing one just this past weekend that I wanted to share. This is the sort of quality reviewer you can find through TBRH, which is such a great resource for indie authors!

The world got infected with a mysterious disease, which killed off most of the population in a short period of time. Everything’s changed: there’s no electricity, no working factories, no way to connect with other people other than in person. Those who survived either prefer to stay in one place or to walk from town to town, trying to find food and supplies they need to stay alive. Paul belongs to the second group and he’s used to traveling alone, but one day he meets a group of strangers and decides to join them. As they walk through deserted areas together, Paul starts to notice the advantages of not being alone anymore. He’s especially interested in quiet and introverted Nina, whom he can’t quite figure out. Will traveling together bring them closer? And what are the odds to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, where every person you meet might be your enemy?

‘What We Need to Survive’ is the first book in the What We Need trilogy, written by the American author Elena Johansen. I’m glad there are two more books to read, because I’m definitely not ready to part with Paul and Nina yet!

From a post-apocalyptic story you’d probably expect a lot of action, battles, zombies or governmental conspiracies – that’s what other PA books and movies are usually about. I’m not into those things, so I’m glad this book is nothing like that. It focuses on everyday life of those who survived the plague and try to stay alive in this new reality. It’s about human relations, learning to trust and help each other, about friendship and love, which make it easier to live day by day, when the future is so uncertain.

The author created a group of well-constructed, three-dimensional characters with great dynamics between them. My favourites are definitely Paul and Nina. Paul is a strong, tough man with a tender, caring heart, always ready to help the others. He’s also musically talented and I have to admit I have a weak spot for fictional guys who can sing and play instruments. Nina is more withdrawn, she doesn’t let her emotions show and it’s not easy to earn her trust, but she cares deeply about her little group.

The romance between Paul and Nina is one of the main threads of the book, but thankfully it’s free from clichés like insta-love or ‘we survived so let’s live like there’s no tomorrow’. It’s a delicious, slow-burn romance – there’s no rushing into things, just because they both survived the plague. They’re slowly getting to know each other, gaining mutual trust, and one of them needs to work hard to let their guards down and open up for the possibility of falling in love and building a relationship.

‘What We Need to Survive’ is a very well-written, captivating novel you won’t be able to put down. It conveys a message that there’s always hope, and love and friendship can grow even on the ashes of the world as we know it.

★★★★✩

New Year, New Giveaway Plans

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I know I said I wasn’t going to be posting until tomorrow’s weekly book reviews, but in between my naps I’ve been investigating more book promotion options, especially giveaways.

I want to get my books into the hands of more readers, and I want more reviews!

But with the new fees on the (previously-free) Goodreads giveaways, they’re no longer an option for me. Instead I’m testing out Rafflecopter’s free plan.

So go here to enter my new giveaway!

It’s running for one week–most of the entry options are one-time only (following me on various social media) but you can get an entry every day for tweeting about the contest.

Help me make this a successful first run by spreading the word!

Looking for Reviewers!

What We Need Covers

Do you like romance? Post-apocalyptic fiction? Curious about what you get when you cross the two?

I’m looking for interested readers to review my novels. What We Need is a series romance, following the same couple through three books and looking at the challenges of falling in love, and staying in love, when the world has fallen apart.

What I’m Offering:

  • Free digital copies of one or more of the books to those willing to read and review them

What I Expect in Return:

  • An honest review posted to both Amazon and Goodreads (minimum) within 3 weeks of receiving the book
  • If you have a book blog, posting a review there would be appreciated as well
  • Sharing your review through any of your other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) would also be fabulous

Please Do Not:

  • Ask to participate if you have no intention of reviewing within the time frame asked
  • Ask to participate if you already doubt you’ll enjoy the books based on the premise/genre
  • Ask for physical copies instead of digital; I simply do not have the budget for this on a large scale
  • Distribute the copies you receive to others

How It Works:

  1. Send me an email [elenajohansenwriting@gmail.com] with your preferred ebook format, and which book you need (for most that will be What We Need to Survive but if anyone who has already started the series needs the later books, that’s cool too.)
  2. I will add you to the reviewers list and send you the book.
  3. Once you’ve posted your review, if you’d like to continue with the series, email me with a link to your review so that I know you’ve completed it; then I’ll send the next book along. If you’re not interested in continuing, then you’re all done!

The Fine Print:

As this is post-apocalyptic fiction, the setting isn’t pretty. There is violence, there is injury and illness and death.

As this is a romance, and not a “clean” one, there is also sex.

If anyone has concerns about triggers, or wants content warnings before they commit to reading, I’m happy to discuss them with you first. I don’t want to post them all here because [spoilers]; also because I can tag a lot of the obvious potential issues, but I can’t know everything any given reader might be worried about encountering.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need to–I want my books to be enjoyable, not harmful, and I will not be offended if anyone decides not to read after talking with me.

The #readselfpublished Blog Tour!

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Hello, readers and fellow authors participating in #readselfpublished!

I’m Elena, I write romance, and I’ve got two books following one couple past the end of the world as they knew it.

Is there room for love in their lives when mere survival demands so much? Find out in What We Need to Survive, book one in the What We Need series.

Kindle

After the plague, the world became a web of silent roads stretching between empty towns.

Paul discovered he had a knack for living on the move, finding supplies and trading them with other survivors, never staying long in one place, or with one person. But he wanted to. Life would be easier with someone to watch his back.

Nina found her own way to survive in the ruined world, but the choices she made left her guarded and mistrustful. Not a woman likely to care for a handsome stranger who falls in with her group of survivors.

Attraction can be ignored, and trust has to be earned. But the days spent searching for food and shelter, and the nights spent keeping watch, don’t satisfy their truest need…

Each other.

When danger is never far away, is love a luxury they can’t afford? What We Need to Survive captures the tension, fear, and hope of two people struggling to build a new way of life from the leftovers of the old, deciding what to hold on to, and what to leave behind.

If that intrigues you, one copy of the book is available through the #readselfpublished giveaways (here’s all of them, so many! Mine’s near the top, April 2nd, and there’s a few days left to enter.) Or dive right in with a digital copy, only 99 cents on whatever platform you prefer!

But Paul and Nina’s story doesn’t end there, oh no. The dangers of the world aren’t finished with them yet, as they travel on together in What We Need to Decide.

eBook cover

Planning a future is a tricky thing, more difficult than picking the best route off a map–especially when the world lies in ruins.

Paul doesn’t have any doubts about Nina. She chose to follow him, and to love him, more every day. Life on the road will never be easy, but with her by his side, he can do anything.

Nina never hoped for much, before the plague, or after. Having Paul to love, and to love her, was more than she’d expected. No matter what else is wrong, being with him feels right, and she sets aside her armor to let him in.

But when Nina reveals her deepest secrets, Paul realizes the life he hopes to have some day might be out of his reach.

And when Paul shows her his darkest side, the piece of himself he can’t accept, Nina wonders if she’ll lose the man she loves to his own demons.

Will Paul and Nina allow the struggles of their pasts to define their future?

What We Need to Decide continues their story, begun in What We Need to Survive, following them as they face the dangers of a world that isn’t as empty as it seems, and the challenges of forging a strong bond under the worst conditions.

I do love reading romances that tie everything up in a neat Happily Ever After bow at the end, but I also love series romances that give you more time to get to know the characters before the journey’s over. Stick with Paul and Nina through theirs with What We Need to Decide, book two of the series, available here. (Paperbacks for both works available through Amazon.)

The series will conclude with the third book, What We Need to Rebuild, coming in Summer 2017! No blurb or cover to share, yet, but if you want to make sure you don’t miss the release announcement, follow my blog here or connect with me any one of these places:

Twitter :: Tumblr :: Facebook :: Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by, and continue on the tour tomorrow with Sarah K. L. Wilson!

#readselfpublished 2017: I’m Hosting a Read-Along!

WHAT WE NEED TO SURVIVE READ-ALONG

I had such a good time with (and good sales numbers from) #readselfpublished last year, I’m participating again. The organizers have planned more activities this year, and there are more authors involved–more on that when the main site goes live in April.

I’m one of the authors hosting a read-along for the event! If you’ve been meaning to read What We Need to Survive and haven’t gotten around to it yet, this will be a great chance to join other fans and share the experience. Hop over to the Facebook page for the event and sign up!

(And while you’re there, maybe you could Like and Follow the page for the whole series as well? I’ll be using it to post updates about the event as well as the forthcoming release date for What We Need to Rebuild!)

It’s an even better time to read WWNtS, because if you don’t already have a copy, the e-book is on sale for 99 cents! (Paperback available through Amazon.)

After the plague, the world became a web of silent roads stretching between empty towns.

Paul discovered he had a knack for living on the move, finding supplies and trading them with other survivors, never staying long in one place, or with one person. But he wanted to. Life would be easier with someone to watch his back.

Nina found her own way to survive in the ruined world, but the choices she made left her guarded and mistrustful. Not a woman likely to care for a handsome stranger who falls in with her group of survivors.

Attraction can be ignored, and trust has to be earned. But the days spent searching for food and shelter, and the nights spent keeping watch, don’t satisfy their truest need…

Each other.

When danger is never far away, is love a luxury they can’t afford? What We Need to Survive captures the tension, fear, and hope of two people struggling to build a new way of life from the leftovers of the old, deciding what to hold on to, and what to leave behind.

If that sounds interesting, I hope you’ll join the read-along, we’d love to have you!

 

The End of the Month Wrap-Up: September 2016!

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This month, I read eleven books. Average, for me, but what’s more interesting about those eleven books is that I finished all three of my reading challenges for the year!

(If you missed the breakdowns — BookRiot Read Harder :: PopSugar :: ReadsTheBooks)

I worked plenty on rewriting the first draft for my next book, the final entry in the What We Need series. No hard word count on that, because I’ve rewritten a few chapters more than once, so words written =/= words that remained in the draft. It’s moving forward, though.

Oh, yeah, and I published the second one. Y’know, no big deal, if you maybe want to check it out…

Over the weekend, I tackled updating my Goodreads TBR to reflect all the free romances I’ve been snatching up on my Kindle this year. My “acquired-in-2016” shelf ballooned from 87 books (almost entirely the stuff I’ve been picking up at those library sales) to a whopping 212. I had no idea I’d gotten so many! But they add up fast when you browse the free “bestsellers” every few weeks, and half the time manage to pick up boxed sets to boot.

I toyed with the idea of starting a new, shorter reading challenge to fill in the rest of the year after I discovered PopSugar does seasonal ones as well, but some of the tasks have me stumbling. A book with a pun in the title? That’s not going to be a long list.

I did some research for next year, though, and I’m probably going to do the Mount TBR Challenge, assuming it’s up again. Since I have well over 200 unread books in my possession, this seems the way to encourage me to read from my personal library, and it will dovetail nicely with any task-oriented challenge I choose. And since it will include everything I acquire before the end of the year, that means any books Santa brings me for Christmas will be fair game…

Because, clearly, I still need more books!