Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heeeeere’s Kelly!

They say a picture tells a thousand words, so how’s this one of Kelly, taken on Wednesday night at the Romance Writer’s of America Literacy Signing?

I’d say it’s darned near perfect, showcasing her beauty, inner glow, and of course, those two flags that indicate she’s a double finalist in Saturday night’s Rita awards! (Go, Kelly...Go, Kelly!)

And thanks to Harper Collins author Heather Davis for taking such a great photo and making sure it found its way to me.

And click here to see the official RWA conference blog, including an entry from Kelly.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Century City for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrator’s conference, to meet with my editor and many, many others. So we’re both gone this weekend, networking, attending sessions, and having fun.

Hope all of you have a great one!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Meet Jennifer Rummel, our HOT SEAT Librarian!

Tina: Welcome, Jennifer, and thanks for joining us! Could you please tell us a little about your background and how you came to be a YA librarian?

Jennifer: I always loved books, but just kind of fell into the librarian world. I was a senior in college and not knowing what the next step would be. I talked to some people about it and thought that, yeah, that sounds cool. I could talk about books all day. So I went to graduate school. The first day I went to classes, I found the local library and took a look around. Before long, I picked up some teen books and just like that, I was hooked. I took a young adult literature course where we had to read 30 different books of all genres. I LOVED it. I could read for class. I expanded my knowledge and knew it was the path for me. I wouldn’t change it now; it’s the best job EVER.

Here is Jennifer’s avatar, which won a YALSA award.

Tina: We'd love to know about your typical work day at the Otis Library, including some of your favorite (and least favorite?) moments?

Jennifer: I usually spend the first hour or so reading blogs (like this one!), emails, and catching up on news. Then I move write up a list for the day of things I’d like to accomplish. It’s usually long and rarely gets finished in a day. My focus changes every day. Some days I need to create of list of books and materials to purchase or create a display or a bookmark for a display or I need to put together a program. Sometimes I do some research into a area that I need to improve upon and there are librarian journals to read.

My favorite moments are purchasing books (it’s great when you’re spending someone else’s money), helping someone find just the right book or sharing news that just makes their day, and having a really fun program like gingerbread house making or transforming clothes. I also love talking with authors, over MySpace or blogs. I’m sometimes star struck when this happens, but I love meeting my favorite authors, even if it is in cyberspace.

My least favorite moments deal with disciplining patrons. I really hate this and am horrible at it. I also hate it when someone comes to the desk with a list of books they want to read and none of them are checked in. It’s always hard to tell someone they have to wait until we can get it for them. And this one is just a pet peeve, but I hate summer reading lists. We never had these where I’m from (Vermont), and some of the books are just, well to put it bluntly, boring. There are so many fresh titles out there that it’s hard for me to hand over some of the titles schools are require teens to read.

Tina: No doubt, your patrons are lucky to have you. So now tell us, has a patron ever brought a book to your attention that went on to become one of your favorites?

Jennifer: I have a new favorite almost every time I finish a book, but this happens to me all the time. And if you ask me to name titles…that’s a bit harder. I hear a lot about books from various blogs that I immediately put on hold. Or from librarians, Twilight is an example of this. I didn’t really think I liked books about vampires. But after reading Twilight, I scoured for other YA vamp books. A patron told me about Scorcery and Cecelia, I loved that one.

Tina: A middle school librarian told me that someone took off with their copy of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, and to be flattered by that. Is there one particular book or author's books that keeps "disappearing" from your shelves and needs replacing?

Jennifer: All the time and there are several: Cut by Patricia McCormick, TTYL by Lauren Myracle, Crank by Ellen Hopkins, all the books from the Twilight saga, several graphic novels, and I’m sure there are others that I’m unaware of at the moment.

Some of Jennifer’s books from her home collection.

Tina: Okay, last question. You're about to take off on a 14 hour international flight. Sure, they'll be movies and meals, but plenty of time to read, too. You can bring one book--either one you've already read, have been wanting to read, or one that's in the works like "Stephenie Meyer's latest." What's it going to be and why?

Jennifer: Wow, only one book, that’s really hard. I’m going to say the Dance of Dragons, the new upcoming fantasy novel from George R.R. Martin. He’s quickly become one of my very favorite authors. He’s funny, clever, writes amazingly and creates unique characters.

Tina: Thank you so much for visiting with us, answering these questions (some of which were hard--sorry!) and giving us these pictures to share.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Undone Winner

Thanks for entering in Brooke Taylor's UNDONE giveaway!!

And the lucky winner is...


Yay, Liv! Liv, please contact me through my website with your mailing address and I'll get that info to Brooke.

Happy reading, Everyone!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What's Fresh with Brooke Taylor's Undone & A Giveaway!

When Kori Kitlzer, the “dark angel” of the 8th grade, tells Serena Moore that they are more alike than she thinks, Serena is instantly intrigued. As their friendship solidifies and their lives entwine, Serena tries to become more like the fearless, outspoken, and ambitious Kori. Soon Serena doesn't know where she begins and Kori ends. But when a twist of fate yanks Kori away from Serena, she will need to find a way to complete her best friend's life left undone.

Undone is a striking debut novel about friendship, family, and the secrets we keep from the people to whom we are closest.

Hello Brooke, thanks for hanging out with us at YA Fresh. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background?

Brooke: Like most authors, I’ve always written. For a long time I didn’t take it very seriously because I had no idea where the road to publication even started. Lucky for me, I came across Romance Writers of America and joined. The most popular question at any local RWA meeting for a new person is: What do you write? Which my reply was: Books. I wasn’t even sure I wrote romance. I didn’t know about genres or anything like that, I just read books from any shelf in the book store. No matter where I plucked them from, the books I gravitated toward often had younger protagonists and focused on the teen years. The first novel I wrote was about a pair of reunited first loves and I actually went back and wrote their back story—how they met and fell in and out of love as teenagers. I guess that was a big clue about what I really wanted to write! Of course that story will stay under the bed for now. My first novel with public viewing privileges is Undone, which will be available July 22, 2008 from Walker, a division of Bloomsbury.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Brooke: No day is typical. There are days when I write until my laptop gives me burns. And there are days when I re-write one line over a hundred times before finally just deleting it altogether. When the dialog is flowing, you can find me having conversations with myself, often while driving down the highway (I have a long commute to the day job). When it’s not, I tend to hang out online.

Please tell us about your novel, Undone, and what we can expect from your characters.

Brooke: Kori Kitzler is the “dark angel” of her high school: beautiful, mysterious, the subject of rumors. Serena Moore is just an average girl: unassuming, not sure exactly who she is or who she wants to be.. But then a seemingly chance encounter ignites a friendship--allowing Kori to draw Serena into her world.

When the girls are given an assignment to list five things they would never dream could really happen--their five ways to tempt fate--Serena doesn’t take it very seriously. But then a tragedy leaves Serena shocked, alone, and in possession of Kori’s five secret impossible possibilities. Can Serena complete her best friend’s list, or will she leave Kori’s dreams Undone?

Undone hit on shelves July 22, 2008 and is published by Walker. It is recommend for ages 14 and up.

Oh, can't wait to read it! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Brooke: Oh, I wish I could tell you all about it, but it’s still under wraps!

haha, no problem! Thanks so much for sharing, Brooke, best of luck with this cool debut. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Brooke: Absolutely! My best and only writing tip is to write the books you want to read.

Thanks so much for having me!

Brooke Taylor lives and writes from her country home in Oklahoma where her horses are a constant, but happy, distraction. Her first “real” job was as a Wrangler for a dude ranch. Since then she has worked for ski resorts in Colorado and traveled the high seas while living on cruise ships. Currently she works for a large public school district. Undone is her first novel. Visit her website,

So what do you think? Does Undone sound up your alley? Brooke is being super cool and offering up a copy of Undone. Leave a comment from now and until Sunday night for a chance to win and the winner will be announced Monday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Next Up, in the Hot Seat...

Continuing our series of turning the tables and interviewing our readers, we are pleased to introduce this week’s volunteer, HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER, Jodi Gleason!

Let's open with a picture of Jodi, on the right, with one of her favorite authors, whose identity will be revealed later...

Tina: Hi, Jodi...or Mrs. Gleason, as I’m sure your students call you. Could you please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a high school teacher?

Jodi: I have been married for 16 years and I have a 14 year old son. I went back to school when my son was in 2nd grade so I have only been teaching for 3 years. I taught 8th grade for the last two years and recently moved up to teaching Freshmen and Sophomores. I became a teacher because I wanted to impact students they way that my teachers had done for me. Growing up in Frankfort, Indiana, I had some of the best teachers ever and I wanted to be just like them. Mrs. Pletch, my senior English teacher, is the reason I teach high school. She made literature come alive and become personal to all of us.

Tina: I’m sure your students appreciate you as much as you did Mrs. Pletch! you ever look back on your own teen years and think if you knew then what you know now and what would that thing be?

Jodi: The one thing that I wish I knew back then was that I am okay just as I am. I wrestled with my weight and by my senior year, I was a borderline anorexic. I hardly ate anything during the day and I lost a lot of weight but I still thought I looked fat. As I have grown, I have grown to like myself no matter what size I am but it has taken me 35 years to get to this point.

Tina: Ditto, here, about wishing I’d appreciated myself as I was! Moving on, can you tell us a few books that you see teens reading for fun?

Jodi: For fun, I see teens reading the Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series, Story of A Girl by Sara Zarr, my middle school boys loved Diary of A Wimpy Kid, Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson are always popular choices, and Gossip Girls.

Tina: Great books! Based on your current experiences in school, how are some ways that teen authors are getting it right?

Jodi: Teen authors, in my personal opinion, are rocking compared to when I was young. They are writing about issues the kids face. I think of the subjects that my students have encountered and I can usually think of a book for them to read. Teen authors are also creating great series for teens to read like Twilight. I personally love the books as an adult and many of the teachers that I work with also enjoy the books. I also think teen authors are approachable to the teens and that helps. I see a lot of readers post on the author's websites about how this or that book helped them and the authors usually reply. I think that is awesome.

Tina: Yes, I think the Internet has made it so much easier for authors to communicate with their readers, and (with thanks to special people like you), help us to make it real. Now, last’re about to take off on a 14 hour international flight. Sure, they'll be movies and meals, but plenty of time to read, too. You can bring one book--either one you've already read, have been wanting to read, or one that's in the works. What's it going to be and why?

Jodi: I am a book junkie and the thought of just taking one book is so hard. Laurie Halse Anderson has a new one coming out next year and I would like to read it but I would also like to read the sequel to Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed for myself since not all of the reading I do is for work. It would be between those two and I can't pick, so I would probably take them both.

Tina: Okay, I’ll be nice and change the question so you can bring two. =) And now, for those of us who did not immediate recognize the author in the picture above, will you please reveal her identity!

Jodi: It’s Laurie Halse Anderson.

Tina: She's a favorite of mine, too.

Jodi: Thanks for letting me participate and thanks for the blog because I use it to select books for my classroom.

Tina: Thank you! (And did you hear that, Kelly? Teachers like Jodi are using our blog to select books for their classrooms. Pressure! LOL.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Invisible Touch ARC Giveaway!

That's right I have 2 advanced reader copies of Invisible Touch to giveaway on the Secret Fates blog. Now, my arcs do not have the cover on them, and there are definitely typos. *wince* So if that doesn't bother you, I'd love for you to read one.

You can read an excerpt here...

Here are a few generous early raves...

If you are interested, Kara Martinez has a secret in Invisible Touch...tell me one of yours! Funny, embarrassing, or just down right odd. I'll go first, I'm the biggest procrastinator. Wait, that's not much of secret. I confess that all the time. Hmm...

My name is Kelly and I'm a french fry connoisseur. Love them all. Mickey D's, Wendy's, The B King's. I'd probably eat them all the time if I let myself.

haha, I know not much of a secret, and yours doesn't have to be either. Let's just have fun!

Contest will run through the week:

Monday, July 21st - Friday, July 25th.
Winner will be announced Saturday, July 26th.

If you are not a member of blogger, you simply post your secret under "anonymous" or "Name/URL". Don't forget to post your name with your secret or I won't be able to pick you as a winner.

Thanks for playing and let's share some secrets!

Enter the contest here!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Thanks so much for making this such a fun I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE giveaway with all the wonderful comments!  

RAMONE was such a cool and rockin' novel, I had this to say about it:

Stephanie Kuehnert writes with dramatic flare and all the right beats, as she spins a story with punk rock lyrics, big dreams, and one girl not afraid to reach out to her lost mother through music, while enduring intense journeys in between. A debut like an unforgettable song, you'll want to read I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE again and again.

And the lucky winner is Marianne Mancusi because she's a former Punk Rock Girl and a Ramones fan!

Marianne, give me a holler and I'll get that out to you!

Thanks to everyone! There will definitely be another giveaway announced soon... :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Twilight Trailer

We interrupt our current contest to share the sneak peek trailers to TWILIGHT, spotlighted on Yahoo movies.

If you've seen them already great, if not watch with fascination here.

Wow, they look good!

Okay, back to the giveaway! Winner announced Sunday night! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Punk Rock & Graffiti Book Signing & a Giveaway!

Just in from my book signing with Stephanie Kuehnert (I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE) at Borders in Monterey, CA. (Not Minnesota!)

There was a mix up and our book signing materials were sent to the wrong store in another state, but Borders Express pulled through and had signs made and did their best to promote the event. They gave us flowers, pens, and chilled water. They were all super nice and always checking on us.  The manager admired how outgoing we were with the customers. I thought we did a pretty good job too!

Punk Rock & Graffiti Signing, Borders Express

I was thrilled to have a teen reader fan come especially to get her copy of GRAFFITI GIRL signed with her mom. (Hello, Rei Monique!) How cool is that??

Even though Steph had been on the road all day, she was upbeat and ready to sign books.  She had her hair died a pretty pink, and wore a cute blouse with a skull pattern.  Even though I hadn't met Steph before I gave her a big hug. We'd been chatting on-line for a while now, and guess what? Her astrology sign is Cancer, and guess what Tina's is?  Cancer too.  So I knew we'd get along great--haha!

Stephanie Kuehnert

We had a great conversation with a group of military students, and they kept us entertained for a good half hour and purchased our books too! Here is Randal, he's a cutie and so outgoing. See, boys like our books too! Our prize giveaway went to his friend Nathalie by random draw. yay!

Guys like our books too!

Our Book Signing Giveaway

Here we are at the end.  The night was calm and the manager apologized but I expected that for midweek and we still sold books! Nonetheless, it was a fun and memorable experience with another great MTV Books author!  Thank you, Steph!  

Kelly and Stephanie

Hey, I think I'm finally getting a hang of this book signing deal. Just a little bit more, anyway. ;)

Now for the on-line giveaway! Leave a comment to win an autographed copy of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE. Keep in mind RAMONE is for mature teen or adult readers (15 years and up). Winner will be announced Sunday evening. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stephanie Kuehnert & Kelly Parra Book Signing!

I've been emailing with Steph since she sold to MTV Books. She's super friendly and outgoing.

Then one day a couple of months ago, she's like," Hey, I'm heading to the West Coast. It'd be cool to do a joint signing!"

(Okay, I'm improvising, but this is basically how it went down in emails!)

Me: "Great idea! Let's so do this!"

Further back and forth emails--Steph, me, Erica (publicist)--and here we are! Steph's on the West Coast and we're going to finally meet tonight, July 16, Wednesday at 7:00 pm, have some laughs, hopefully sign some books, and offer up a giveaway!

Monterey, Borders Book Signing

Please stop by if you're in the Monterey, California area! We'd love to meet you!

Borders Express
222 Del Monte Shopping Center
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831.373.0987

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Today, in the Hot Seat...

Last week we asked for volunteers to let me turn the tables and ask some questions. We start today with our HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, Anum.

Tina: Hi, Anum! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Me? I don't think there's anything special! Haha! I'm just your average nerdy girl, who doesn't wear glasses. =) I love to read (duh!), and I'm actually hoping to become a graphic designer when I grow up. Another joy of mine is playing Rockband. I so rock at playing guitar!

Tina: Me, too! (Okay, I just rock at the singing part.) Back to you...

Anum: I'm a family person, I'd choose to spend a day at my cousins’ rather than going to the mall to see friends, and I see them a lot anyways! Hmm, I have a unnatural obsession for Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian) and Johnny Depp!

Tina: Great taste, there! =) How about you name a few super-popular books that you see people reading on your campus?

Anum: Well, obviously there'd be Twilight! But lately I've been seeing a lot of vampire books such as Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast. They're not “super-popular” yet, but they will be! I've also been seeing a lot of Meg Cabot books, especially books like The Princess Diaries, and the Mediator series.

Tina: Tell us, based on your experiences, what are some ways that teen authors are getting it right?

Anum: Hmm, they're probably getting it all right with their views on abuses, relationships, and the whole way to make people hooked on their books. OMG, they also SO get it right with drama! Sure, they go over the top a bit, but still. It so describes our current teenage lives, haha!

Tina: Thanks! Now, tell us a YA book you'd love to see turned into a TV program or movie?

Anum: Gosh, there are a lot! *ponders* OMG yeah, there's this book I just read that I instantly started thinking: Oh, who would THIS character be if this was a movie? Yeah...that book is called Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder. I love horror books, they're like my weakness. I thought it would kinda cool to have a whole serial killer thing going on, and I would definitely watch it!

Tina: Final question, you're about to take off on a 14 hour international flight. Sure, they'll be movies and meals, but plenty of time to read, too. You can bring one book--either one you've already read, have been wanting to read, or one that's in the works like Stephenie Meyers latest. What's it going to be and why?

Anum: Hmm, there are so many books! I must bring one, though. So I'd choose a funny book to keep me laughing. I'm always depressed on the airplane. Haha. I would choose How To Ruin A Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles. I can relate to her books a lot! And they make me actually LOL. I don't LOL that much from books. There are like a few that do that. (:

Tina: Wonderful. We love Simone, too! In fact, her book, Leaving Paradise, is up for the Best Young Adult Romance in the Romance Writer’s of America Rita Contest, along with Kelly’s Graffiti Girl! Thank you, Anum. And if anyone has any questions for Anum or us, please ask away!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What's Fresh with Tara Altebrando's What Happens Here

We were going to see the world together, Lindsay and I. We were going to eat it up, whole. But it didn't happen that way. It didn't happen that way at all...
When Chloe's parents decide to take her to Europe the summer before senior year of high school, she's ecstatic...she only wishes her best friend, Lindsay, could come too. Living in Las Vegas, they have long imagined the world through the casinos inspired by great cities and have vowed to travel the globe together someday. Unfortunately, Lindsay's parents won't agree to send her along.

So Chloe goes to Europe and sends postcards to Lindsay every day. But when she comes home, she must cope with shocking news that rips her family -- and Lindsay's -- apart. And as she tries to uncover the truth about what happened, Chloe soon begins to feel that Lindsay's brother, Noah, is the one person alive for whom she'd go to the ends of the earth....

From the acclaimed author of The Pursuit of Happiness, this is a stunning new novel of friendship, love, and loss, set against the dazzling dual backdrops of Europe and Las Vegas.

Hi Tara! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Tara: Before I was a YA writer, I wrote regular grown-up fiction. And before THAT, I actually published a memoir called Been There Haven’t Done That: A Virgin’s Memoir, when I was 25. I had an idea to write a memoir about holding on to my virginity longer than most people I knew and I wrote a few chapters, sent it to a literary agent whose name I picked out of a big book, and he called me, signed me up and we sold the book to Warner. Sometimes I feel guilty telling that story since I know that the agent hunt fills aspiring writers with dread. Sometimes you get lucky.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Tara: These days I only really write two or three days a week, for five hours at a time. I have an 11 month old daughter, so I have a sitter who comes to the house to play with her and I go to a local café here in Astoria, Queens. There is no better cure for writer’s block or procrastination than paying someone an hourly wage while you’re supposed to be writing. When I start up my computer on sitter time, there is no messing around!

Please tell us about your latest novel What Happens Here and what we can expect from your characters.

Tara: My latest novel is “What Happens Here,” which was released by MTV Books last month. It has been called “gutwrenching” ( and tells the story of two longtime best friends, Chloe and Lindsay, and how one of them stumbles headlong into trouble. It’s set in Las Vegas and also in Europe and there is, of course, a boy. Or two.

My characters are, like me, drawn to melodrama and big ideas. Chloe is the narrator and she definitely thinks about some of the Big Questions of life as the story progresses...because she’s passionate about it. I like to think that my main characters have that in common, that they’re passionate about life, even if they’re not thrilled with the particular day or month or year they’re having.

I have your book with me, and I'm ready to dive in! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Tara: I struggle with this question lately! I am working on something new but it is not under contract and I have not divulged the concept publicly. It’s a bit different than my previous two YA novels and I just want to see it through to the end before I open it up to scrutiny of any kind. I’m hoping to have a pretty good first draft by summer’s end.

Best of luck, Tara, and thanks so much for sharing! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Tara: Revise, revise, revise. I still find myself editing my work when I do a reading, or wishing I’d paid a teeny bit more attention to this sentence or that. The more revision you can do before the book actually gets published the less tortured you will be when it is out in the world. :)

Tara Altebrando is the author of What Happens Here and The Pursuit of Happiness. She lives in Queens, NY, with her husband and daughter. Visit her website,

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What's Fresh with Linda Gerber's Death By Bikini

Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy. She lives on a remote tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. The problem is that her family's resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends - much less to meet cute boys. So when a smoldering Seth Mulo arrives with his parents, she's immediately drawn to him. Sure, he's a little bit guarded, and sure his parents are rather cold, and okay he won't say a word about his past, but their chemistry is undeniable. Then a famous rock star's girlfriend turns up dead on the beach - strangled by her own bikini top - and alarm bells sound. Is it too great a coincidence that Seth's family turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces . . . .

Hello Linda, thanks for chatting with us! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Linda: For as long as I can remember, I've loved to write, but it wasn't until I found encouragement from an online forum that I really got serious about it. As for the first sale, I had written two complete novels (neither published) and was messing around with a third when an author friend of mine from the forum alerted me to a call for submissions for the Students Across the Seven Seas series. The timing couldn't have been better. I was living in Tokyo at the time and I quickly submitted a proposal for a book set in Japan. Within just a few weeks, it sold. The result was SASS: NOW AND ZEN, Puffin 2006.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Linda: I'm a mom, so my schedule has to be flexible. During the school year, I start early and work until it's time to pack lunches and get kids on buses. After walking the dog and other mom chores, I shut myself in the office and write until about 3:30 when the kids are home again.

This routine changes during the summer (I write wherever and whenever I can between pool runs and sports camps!) and when I'm facing a deadline (the office door stays closed and the kids have learned to order takeout!)

LOL! I know Mountain Mike's number by heart! Please tell us about your latest novel, Death by Bikini, and what we can expect from your characters.

Linda: In May, the first of my new YA mystery/romantic suspense series, DEATH BY BIKINI, hit the shelves, also with Puffin. Aphra Connolly's life at her dad's exclusive island resort takes an unexpected turn when a cute guy and his family check in – just before another guest is found dead on the beach. Aphra's determination to find the killer may just make her the next target…

I love mysteries! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Linda: The second in the series, DEATH BY LATTE will be released in September, followed by DEATH BY DENIM in February. Meanwhile, I'm working on a stand-alone 2009 release about reluctant psychic sisters (CHARLATANS), and contributing to an anthology about Scott Westerfield's UGLIES series, as well as plotting more DEATH BY books.

Great, Linda! Thanks again for sharing with us. I wish you the best with all your projects. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Linda: Read, read, read! Write every day. Don't let anything (or anyone) stop you!

Linda recently returned to life in the Midwest after four years in Japan, where she served as the Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Her books include SASS: NOW AND ZEN, SASS: THE FINNISH LINE, DEATH BY BIKINI and the upcoming books DEATH BY LATTE, DEATH BY DENIM and CHARLATANS. She currently lives and writes in Dublin, OH, blissfully ignoring her husband, four kids, and one very naughty puppy. Visit her website,

Monday, July 07, 2008

Who's Gonna Sit in the Hot Seat?

Recently, while answering some author interview questions, it
occurred to me that it might be fun to "turn the table" and interview an interviewer. I mean, everyone likes to share thoughts and opinions, right?

From there, my mind ran to a YA Fresh blog series...interviewing our readers. With that in mind, I created four categories:

1: YA book reviewer
2: YA librarian
3: Middle school or high school teacher
4: Middle school or high school student

Between now and Friday, July 11, I'll checking my mailboxes
( and for
volunteers. If you are interested in being interviewed and you fit into one of these four categories, e-mail me with contact information and the most applicable category. I will "accept" the first volunteer from each category. Four total. Then I will then e-mail those people the list of questions, and post the interviews here.

Sound good? I think so!

So hurry up and e-mail me so it can be YOU!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing all of our blog readers a happy and safe July 4th weekend...and see you back here soon for lots of "fresh" new fun!

Kelly and Tina

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What's Fresh with Jenny O'Connell's Local Girls & Rich Boys

There are two kinds of people on the island -- those who leave at summer's end...and those who are left behind.

Hello Jenny, great to chat with you again! Please tell us about your latest novels.

Jenny: LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS are the first books in my new Island Summer series, published by MTV Books. They come out June 24 and take place on Martha's Vineyard, one of my most favorite places in the world. Even though the stories share an island, each book has a different main character and story line.

What was the most difficult part of writing this novel?

Jenny: Making sure I got it right! I talked with some girls I know who live on the island, did a ton of research when I was there last summer, was even callinga bait shop last fall to get information on the best fishing spots so it all made sense. Even though the stories are fiction I wanted to be as accurate as possible about life on the island.

Could you share what type of promotion you or your publisher are doing for your novel?

Jenny: Right now there's a contest going on to win an Island Summer t-shirt - it's totally cute and perfect for the beach. Best of all, winning is so easy! There's already been one winner and I plan on giving away a shirt a week through July. Go to to enter.

Please list one similarity and one difference between yourself and your main character.

Jenny: Like Kendra in LOCAL GIRLS, my best friends mean the world to me. I couldn't survive without them. Like Winnie in RICH BOYS, I always feel like it's my responsibility to fix what's wrong - even if some times that's just not possible - because I hate it when people I care about are unhappy.

Thank you again for sharing, could you please tell us one of your favorite lines from the book?

Jenny: That is SO hard!! And not just because it's been so long since I wrote them. Actually, I love the descriptions of the Vineyard, the streets and homes, the way the sunlight creates shadows in the trees. I had so much fun trying to describe what I love so much about the island.

Honestly, I can't choose just one line. I love Kendra and Winnie and Henry and Jay so much, and they're all different. Readers will just have to pick a favorite line for themselves.

Jennifer’s debut novel, Bachelorette #1, was called a "poolside page turner" by Cosmopolitan magazine, declared "Chick Lit at its most fun," by the Denver Post, and selected as a "Hot Book pick" by US Weekly. Since then, Jennifer has written three more novels, including Dress Rehearsal, Off The Record, and Insider Dating. In addition to conceiving and editing the collection of essays for Everything I Needed to Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, Jennifer’s first non-fiction book, The Divorced Girls' Society, co-written with Smith alum Vicki King, came out in October 2007.

Jennifer also writes for teens as Jenny O’Connell for MTV books. Her novels include Plan B and The Book Of Luke. The first two books in her new Martha’s Vineyard Summer Series will be published in Summer 2008. She received her B.A. from Smith College and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Visit her website,

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Word puzzle geeks unite! There’s a new game in town!

Thanks to our friend, Tera Lynn Childs (whose debut novel, Oh.My.Gods is getting raves reviews), I learned about a website called Wordle. It allows you to type in key words from a particular theme and create what looks like a word scramble.

Here’s what I made for THE ABC’S OF KISSING BOYS, featuring characters and key words and themes:

Hop on over there and create your own Wordles. Maybe commemorate important relationships (Best friend? Boyfriend?) or events (Prom? Teammates?). And remember to press “Randomize” for numerous different lay-outs.

Have fun and let us know how you like it!