If you celebrate Halloween for fun, have a great night and stay safe!!
~ Kelly & Tina
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 10/31/2008
What's Fresh with Marilee Brothers's Moonstone
A sickly mom. A tiny house trailer. High school bullies and snarky drama queens. Bad-guy dudes with charming smiles. Allie has problems. And then there's that whole thing about fulfilling a magical prophecy and saving the world from evil. Geez. Welcome to the sad, funny, sometimes-scary world of fifteen-year-old Allie Emerson, who's struggling to keep her and her mom's act together in the small-town world of Peacock Flats, Washington. An electrical zap from a TV antenna sets off Allie's weird psychic powers. The next thing she knows she's being visited by a hippy-dippy guardian angel, and then her mysterious neighbor, the town "witch," gives her an incredible moonstone pendant that has powers only a good-hearted "Star Seeker" is meant to command. "Who, me?" is Allie's first reaction. But as sinister events begin to unfold, Allie realizes she's got a destiny to live up to. If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime.
The Little Things...
Getting in shape/keeping in shape is usually associated with spring, but with the holidays coming, I think it’s as important now as ever.
Some of you may know that in the past eighteen months or so, I’ve really stepped up my exercise, and have been feeling better. In fact, I had to buy a bunch of size-smaller summer clothes--yay!
So now my focus is not so much on how to get in shape, but the little things a person can do to stay in shape. For me, that’s walking whenever possible. Leaving the car at home altogether. Going out for after-dinner strolls. Using a treadmill. And I think I’ve started annoying friends who invite me out for coffee or lunch because I say, “Sure, how about that place near the park, and we can walk afterwards?”
Here’s a few more things I aspire toward:
--Drinking lots of water (because it’s not only good for you, it fills you up).
--Parking on the far side of parking lots, forcing myself to walk the difference to the store or restaurant.
--Not eating again after dinner.
I'm not saying I accomplish them, but I try. What are some little things that you do, or try to do, to stay healthy?
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 10/27/2008
Plain Crazy for Pumpkin!
One of the best things to me about this time of year is the return of pumpkin. Pie, cookies, bread, lattes, soup, mousse, cake, waffles, pancakes, ravioli. Even the scent in an aerosol. Bring it on!
And the twist on this craving is that it’s actually healthy, as pumpkin is a natural oxidant.
Something the Australians must know. For when I visited there in the summer of 2002, I found pumpkin soup on almost every menu--no joke--and had at least one bowl daily, even on the dive boat out in the Great Barrier Reef. Yum.
And I’m one of Starbucks’ most loyal customer when they’ve got the pumpkin latte on their menu.
Although I have to say that one time I got to taste test competing slices of pumpkin pie--one made from a hollowed-out pumpkin, the other from canned filling--I preferred the canned. Which made me wonder if I was a true pumpkin purist...
In any case, put the word “pumpkin” in a recipe title, and I’m there. Anyone else crazy for the big orange fruit?
What's Fresh with Stacy DeKeyser's Jump The Cracks
What would you do?
As far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse not to be decent...Especially when you're responsible for a kid.
It just figures that fifteen-year old Victoria's dad fails once again to be at the train station like he's promised. Fuming, Victoria watches as a teen mom stashes her bruised little boy in the train's bathroom. When the mom gets off the train alone, Victoria decides she has had it with all the poor excuses who call them selves parents. Making a split-second decision, Victoria boards the next train out of town-taking the little boy with her.
No, really, what would you do?Victoria's staying on the run until everyone responsible starts keeping their promises. This kid's not falling through the cracks. Not on her watch.
2008 Cybil nominees have been posted for the following categories!
Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade)
Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult)
Fiction Picture Books
Graphic Novels (Middle Grade)
Graphic Novels (Young Adult)
Middle Grade Novels
Non-Fiction Middle Grade/Young Adult Books
Non-Fiction Picture Books
Young Adult Novels
Who is the winner of a signed copy of Invisible Touch.
Shalonda, please contact me through my MySpace (www.myspace.com/ferrarotina) or my website (www.tinaferraro.com) with your mailing address so we can get that in the mail to you!
And for those of you who didn’t win, be sure to check my MySpace blog later this week for another Invisible Touch giveaway!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 10/19/2008
You not only strive for that, but you accomplish it (says your proud critique partner). Thanks for sharing. Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?
I have to recommend Tina's next novel, THE ABC'S OF KISSING BOYS, coming out in January '09. It's a story of friendship and family, and a girl's struggle to keep her life in control while other parts are not so easily tamed. And there's lots of kissing...
Kelly currently lives somewhere in between dreamland and her hometown in Central Coast California. When not pulling her hair while writing her current novel, she likes to play with her abundance of websites and feed a serious television addiction. Visit her website, www.Kelly Parra.com or visit the Secret Fates blog.
Hello, Catherine. Thank you for joining us. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Like most writers, I couldn't initially publish anything to save my life. I couldn't even get an agent for many years. I began to write short fiction, which I marketed myself. It's a nicely level playing field, because agents won't touch it (very little money to be made) and so (short story) editors accept and, in fact, expect submissions directly from authors. After a few short story acceptances (which I accomplished after a few hundred rejections) I found agents much more attentive. But I still had to start with a very small press (for my first novel, Funerals for Horses) and work my way up.
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.
They don't all look the same, so I'll describe two.
In one, I have a novel in progress. It's working. So I get up, do ten or fifteen minutes of Yoga, drink a cup of tea, and start work. I usually try to knock off in time for the evening news, but will usually go back and spend several hours polishing what I wrote that day, taking me close to bedtime.
In the second, it's not working. Which really just means that the scenes that come next are not ready. Not fully imagined. I find it not only waste of time but a morale drain to write pages that are destined for the recycle bin. So I may take off with my kayak and not come back until nightfall, or I may spend the day doing drudge work like getting the car serviced or catching up with email. It all depends on how much I have to do.
I think I'm still caught on the kayacking! Wow.
Please tell us about your novel, The Day I Killed James, and what we can expect from your characters.
Theresa is an eighteen-year-old girl who blames herself for the suicide of a young man who loved her. She didn't hurt him with malice aforethought, but she did hurt him. On the same night he drove his motorcycle off a cliff. So you can expect her to wither under the burden of her own crushing guilt. And to run away from everything she thinks of as comprising herself. And to try never to let anybody close enough to get hurt again. But since she's one of my characters, you can expect her to climb her way out of that self-made prison (one of my characters in one of my unpublished novels once remarked that a prison is a prison regardless of its builder). She does this with the help of an 11-year-old girl who sticks to her like a piece of gum on the bottom of her shoe, but who ultimately helps her turn around them both around.
What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
I always have another project in the works. Except when I have two or three.
Next summer, Knopf will release my next YA book, Diary of a Witness. It's slightly different, in that it involves two teenage boy characters. Our protagonist, Ernie, (who is more than 100 pounds overweight) is an outcast, and so is his best (and only) friend Will. But Ernie has a mom who, though a bit hysterical, loves him. He also has his Uncle Max as a leveling figure. But Will's home life is falling apart and so is he, and he is about to take matters into his own hands regarding the popular jocks who torment them daily. And poor Ernie may be the only one who can prevent disaster.
I also have a new adult novel that is not yet under contract here in the US, but which has just been sold to Transworld, my UK publisher (things are actually much better for my career over there). I hope that I will soon be able to say it has a US publisher as well.
My YA editor is just now reading my new YA novel, Jumpstart the World, about a teenage girl who falls in love with her older next door neighbor before realizing he is transgender (female to male in transition).
And I'm writing a new YA right now.
They all sound terrific. Now, would Would you like to close with a writing tip?
I guess I'd have to say, "Expect rejection." I don't mean it as a negative. I say it because so many good writers get discouraged over it, and many give up. But maybe they could weather rejection better if they had set themselves to expect it. It's part and parcel of the business. I've gotten rejections within the past few months (editors who think my newest adult novel is too literary for the current market) and I hope newer writers will remind themselves of that before they decide they had better not quit their day jobs. Maybe just look at your next rejection as your membership card in the Real Writer's Club.
Thank you so much, Catherine, and we’ll be keeping our eyes open for all your books!
The National Book Foundation 2008 Nominees for Young People's Literature Announced!
Its finally here, the official release day for Invisible Touch! Yay! :) :)
Last year, Graffiti Girl started showing up at stores a week early. This year Amazon released Invisible Touch 2 weeks early, haha. Hopefully stores will release Touch today!
Click here to read an excerpt and check out a couple raves for Invisible Touch:
"A magical blending of mystery, romance, and deep and dangerous secrets. Kelly Parra’s Invisible Touch is an action-packed coming-of-age novel, sure to keep readers turning pages and begging for a sequel."
-- Laurie Faria Stolarz, Bestselling author of Blue is for Nightmares and Deadly Little Secret
"The Gold Award of Excellence! An amazing, touching novel that deals with big issues in an original context."
-- TeensReadToo, Reviewer Lauren Ashley
Book Review: The Day I Killed James
Catherine Ryan Hyde and I have been Myspace friends for a while, a fact I find very cool since I am a fan of her novel, Pay It Forward, and its feature film version, starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment.
And while Kelly is primarily the book reviewer here at YA Fresh, I approached Catherine about reviewing her May 2008 release, The Day I Killed James, and was very pleased when she not only responded enthusiastically, but had her publicist mail me a copy.
Here is the press release blurb:
Everything seems ideal in Theresa’s life--she’s beautiful, popular, and she’s dating the “perfect” guy. So when her fickle boyfriend decides he’s not sure what he wants, it’s only harmless jealousy and a little self-pride that makes Theresa bring her cute older neighbor, James, to a party. And even though James loves Theresa, it’s only for the night, so it’s risk-free, right? But when everything goes horribly wrong, and James commits suicide, it becomes anything but a “harmless” night. To cope with the pain, Theresa runs away, shaves her head, and vows never to let anyone close enough to love her again. But the more Theresa runs, the more she must face herself.
I really enjoyed this book. It kept me thinking, kept me feeling, and kept me rooting for the main character to find her way to self-forgiveness.
Theresa reveals her pain in journal form, first person and third, in short chapters, but the writing is so heartfelt and powerful that the book has a bigger, meatier feel that only 200+ pages.
Take, for instance, the following passage. When musing about how Theresa suddenly started missing James, she says:
“No, that’s not right to say I started. I didn’t start. I just kind of joined it in progress, zero to a hundred percent while I wasn’t even paying attention. It wasn’t there, then it was.”
I stopped short after reading that paragraph, marveling over how many times in my life I have suddenly found myself in mid-emotion, not knowing when it started or how I’d gotten so far into its throes. And thinking about how she’d not only identified that feeling, but how perfectly she’d described it.
Catherine Hyde Ryan weaves a tender and beautiful story in The Day I Killed James. I expect it to hear much about it in the days to come, on Favorites and Best lists...and who knows, maybe it’ll make to the big screen, as well?
We are having lots of fun sharing secrets on Secret Fates!
I just wanted to share the YA authors who are generously giving away books this week:
Monday: Jenny O'Connell shared about LOCAL GIRLS...
Wednesday: Alex McAulay is giving away OBLIVION ROAD...
Friday: Jennifer Echols offers up THE BOY NEXT DOOR and MAJOR CRUSH...
Saturday: Stephanie Hale has two books up for grabs, REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN and TWISTED SISTERS...
Invisible Touch is now within reach...
October is one of my favorite months with cooler weather, the changing leaves, insane amounts of candy, and my favorite color--ORANGE--everywhere. I even chose this month for my wedding.
This October there's something special to celebrate. Behold what the postman brought me!
Most of you know that as Kelly's critique partner, I not only got to read the book in its entirety, but in its burgeoning moments and earliest pieces, as well. Being on the inside track is part of what makes me so proud to see Kelly's book hit the stands--well, that and the bang-up, knock-it-outta-the-ball-park job she did.
So here's me, showing the book some love...
...while silently reviewing my October schedule for time for another wonderful read!
Congrats, Kelly! And everyone else, I highly recommend this gripping and exciting read!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 10/06/2008
What's Fresh with Katie Finn's Top 8
Madison MacDonald is seriously freaking out.
Everything in my life was working out. I had my three best friends, a brand-new boyfriend, and the lead in the school play. Aside from that history paper I hadn't started, things felt perfect.
Then I returned from spring break to find my Friendverse profile hacked. Someone clearly out to ruin me had spilled the most damaging secrets - AND posted the worst photos of me ever taken - online.
Now my boyfriend and I are broken up, half the school hates me, and I'm in deep trouble.
Get my boyfriend back, figure out who could have done this, and clear my name!
Also, pass history.
Just a quick reminder!
Secrets are being shared now for Laurie Faria Stolarz, Amanda Ashby, our Tina Ferraro, and tomorrow Liza Conrad with books up for grabs until Saturday night at Secretfates.blogspot.com!
Then a new line up of authors and books next week!
Come join us. :)
Hi Everyone, the Secret Fates Extravaganza begins today and you're invited!
Where 26 authors of various genres will be sharing secrets and giveaways to help me celebrate the release of my latest novel INVISIBLE TOUCH (October 14, 2008) published by MTV Books!
I have to say these authors are super cool to donate their time and books to what I hope will be a fun month. I'm so excited! Thank you, Authors!!!
You may wonder, Why Secret Fates?
My character Kara in INVISIBLE TOUCH has a secret, she sees signs on individuals and pieces the signs together in order to help stop unfortunate fates, and she shares this supernatural secret on an anonymous blog called Secret Fates. So I thought it would be great to create this blog to share author and character secrets!
Check out the promo video for all the authors participating:
Wednesday, October 1st: Laurie Faria Stolarz shares about PROJECT 17...
Thursday, October 2nd: Amanda Ashby dishes on the backstory of YOU HAD ME AT HALO...
Friday, October 3rd: Tina Ferraro dishes on THE ABCs OF KISSING BOYS and offers up two releases...
Saturday, October 4th: Erica Orloff aka Liza Conrad shares a personal experience and offers up THE POKER DIARIES...