Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

And I guess it's that time to make some resolutions that maybe I'll fulfill and maybe I won't...haha! Believe me, I try to fulfill my resolutions with good intentions, but they don't always work out. *sigh* So this year, I will try my best to fulfill my 2009 resolutions... :) :)

My New Year's Resolutions for 2009

I will try to write and complete two books this year.

I will try to write and simultaneously keep my house nice and neat. *chuckle*

I will try not to agree to too much responsibility to where I'm crazy busy and too busy to write.

I will try not to follow so much celebrity gossip! haha. Sometimes I am completely too nosey for my own good.

I will try and eat healthier, not so much fried food, with a little more working out on the side.

I will try and share more about the fabulous books I will read this year.

I will try and be more patient, because I am not the most patient person in the world. ;)

And I will try and make YA Fresh a little bit more fun!

Okay, not too over the top. :) 

What are some of your New Year's Resolutions for 2009??

Monday, December 29, 2008

Have You Seen This Lipstick?

I've had a couple readers write and ask me about the lipstick on
the cover of The ABC's of Kissing Boys. I'm not real savvy in the
ways of lipstick--tend to wear the same brand, same shade, when I
wear it at all--plus, I had been thinking it was just a clear gloss.

Bonne Bell put out a clear stick gloss when I was a girl that my
friends and I all used. Nowadays Bonne Bell calls that product
"Lip Smackers" and they come in a lovely array of shades and flavors and bright packages...but same idea.

Anyway, now I am wondering if this IS a lipstick, and not just a
stick gloss. Can anyone identify the silver lipstick tube or guess
at the shade? Any ideas where I can point readers who are
interested in buying a similar product?

All thoughts appreciated!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Captivating New Series...

I had the pleasure of reading the ARC earlier this year, and now that it has hit book stores on December 23rd, I'm thrilled to shout praises about Laurie Faria Stolarz's DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, the first book in the new "Touch" series.

The characters in this novel are real and unique. The writing smooth and the storytelling mysterious and intense. I can only hope I'll get to read the next book in the series before it hits stores again!

Camelia lives a normal high school life, but she doesn't know she's being watched until the weird phone calls and packages begin and now everywhere she turns she senses fear. The new boy with the dangerous past and dark secrets says he can help. Her friends are urging her away from him. Yes, Camelia needs help. She just doesn't know if he can be trusted. Or if anyone can be for that matter.

A boy to admire from afar, a girl you want to befriend, a novel to keep you turning the pages because you won't know who to trust. Laurie Faria Stolarz's DEADLY LITTLE SECRET is a blend of mystery, chills, and forbidden touches--one captivating story you have to experience!

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Project 17 and Bleed, as well as the highly popular young adult novels Blue Is for Nightmares, White Is for Magic, Silver Is for Secrets, and Red Is for Remembrance. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her website at

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays to all 
of our Friends!!

~kelly and tina :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let It Snow (Three Holiday Romances)

Some months ago, I read about an upcoming trilogy of holiday romances by three esteemed authors, John Green. Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. Here is the blurb:

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks.

While the blurb interested me, it wasn’t until I got to the final line--telling me that the tales were interconnected--that I added it to my book list. I loved the idea that same characters and storylines would pop in and out of each author’s story (in each author’s voice).

So I bought the book, and moved it ahead of my massive reading pile for my December reading. And am I glad I did.

Let It Snow is more than just a holiday book or collection of stories. The writing is sharp, the characters leap off the page, you laugh, you choke up, you shiver in the cold, you warm by the fire...and you fall in the love with the characters. Some of whom do travel all the way through the book, along with clever little themes and phrases.

In fact, one of the characters creates his own swear word, and it appears enough times throughout the book that it stuck in my head. So when a driver cut in front of me this week, guess what came out of my mouth? (No, I'm not going to write it'll have to find it out for yourself!)

I am presently passing my copy of Let It Snow around to my friends...and encourage our YA FRESH readers to check it out, too. And then come back and let is know what you think.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tina Gets an Early Holiday Gift...

This week, my publisher, Random House, released my 2007 book, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress as a Kindle! Yay!

And the timing couldn’t be better since Santa’s bringing me a Kindle for Christmas. (At least, he’s supposed to...) So the way I see it, on Thursday, while the family is cleaning up and starting breakfast, I’ll be in front of the computer, downloading my book from Amazon...

The gift that keeps on giving, huh?

Here’s wishing you unexpected gifts, too!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Who's the Birthday Girl?

Why, it's our very own Kelly!

Everyone, please join me in wishing her a happy, happy birthday!

And allow me to say thanks again to everyone who attended Kelly's author chat last night on PAGEFLIPPER'S site. So much fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pets and Holidays...

I’m busy shopping and wrapping this week, and putting presents under our tree...and at equal rate, our cat, Rascal (named after the prom dumper in Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress), is busy sniffing around the presents and poinsettias, tearing into wrapped gifts, and plowing into gift bags. I swear, he thinks this whole holiday thing is about providing him with entertainment, and it doesn’t matter how many crinkled wrapping paper balls you toss his way, he still thinks that the scotch tape on your finger or the nicely wrapped present beside you is the most fun!

In fact, here’s a couple of pictures from two years ago, when we couldn’t “find” him on Christmas morning!

He also wants to know what all these funny decorations are that we have up on counters and tables, and apparently likes the way they sound as he knocks them to the carpet.

Kelly has a new puppy this year, Cinnamon:

One of the cutest I think I’ve EVER seen--and I’m looking forward to hearing about her first holiday season. Kelly, what can you tell us so far?

And how about the rest of you, how goes it with pets and holidays at your house?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Chances to Win...

Hi YA Freshers! I'm inviting readers to a couple of on-line events this week for a chance to chat with me and win a copy of Invisible Touch!

On Wednesday, December 17 the cool authors at Wolfy Chicks have invited me for an interview and have graciously donated a copy of Invisible Touch to giveaway to a lucky commenter. So if you're interested in reading Invisible Touch, I'd love for you to stop by this great YA paranormal blog and leave a comment tomorrow!

Then on Thursday, December 18th, 8 PM Eastern (7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific) the awesome Pageflipper is hosting monthly chats with authors--how cool is that? And during the chat on Thursday, I'll be giving away three copies of Invisible Touch to random chatters! It's very easy to register and to enter the chat. And if you've already read Touch, you can still check in and ask me any questions on Graffiti Girl or Touch! So please stop by here and be ready to ask any questions on books, reading, or writing!

Thanks and hope to chat with you soon!


Sunday, December 14, 2008


A Signed Hard Cover Copy of GOOD ENOUGH by Paula Yoo (pictured here from last August at the SCBWI Conference)

goes to...

Shari Green!!!

Shari, please contact me at admin with your mailing information. And congratulations!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Plot, Plot, Fizz Fizz Contest!

Some years ago, Alka Seltzer ran a commercial that went: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is!"

Well, last weekend, my writer-friend, Paddy Lock, and I attended a Writer2Writer Workshop at Flintridge Bookstore, where the lovely and talented Paula Yoo spoke to the group about plotting. And I couldn't help humming that little jingle to myself because just the way Alka Seltzer revives one's ailing stomach, there's nothing like plot points to bring life to an ailing storyline.

Paula has extensive experience in plotting books, as well as television screenplays, and explained her processes using examples from classic novels and the classic movie, “Diehard,” as well as providing hand-outs with further elaborations, exercises, and sources.

It was also great to hear about her writer’s journey, the two books she has in print, the one out in 2009, and a particular highlight was the brainstorming exercise she ran us through as if we were a table of TV screenwriters looking for new ideas for upcoming episodes.

Following her talk, she signed copies of Good Enough. Here she is with the director of the Writer2Writer program, Catherine Linka:

And with Paddy and me:

What Paddy and I did was to buy two books, one for us to read, and one for me to share with one lucky commenter here at YA Fresh. The contest starts NOW and will close on Sunday, December 14 at 6:00 pm PST. So go ahead and leave a comment...and best of luck!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What's Fresh with Lauren Baratz-Logsted's The Sisters Eight Series for Young Readers

Hello, Lauren, it's great to chat with you! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Lauren: I was an independent bookseller and buyer for 11 years until 1994 when I left to take a chance on myself as a writer. Over the course of the next eight years, while writing seven books and trying to make a first sale, I supported my writing habit with part-time jobs as a Publishers Weekly reviewer (292 titles), a freelance editor (nearly 100 books), a sort-of librarian (arranging author visits and leading a writing workshop), and window washer (I washed Robert Ludlum's windows). In fall 2001, I began reading reviews of a new publisher, Red Dress Ink, whose editorial sensibility I felt was a match for the sixth book I'd written, THE THIN PINK LINE, a dark comedy about a woman who fakes an entire pregnancy. So I showed The Thin Pink Line to an agent I was working with at the time on Vertigo, another book that has since sold and been published, and asked if he'd read it. He did, said he loved it but that there were too many books like it out there. You know, all those other fake pregnancy comedic novels? So I asked if he'd submit it to this one publisher, RDI, who still seemed perfect for it. He said no, because he knew for a fact that they didn't want books with a London setting. This sounded frankly nutty to me, so I asked if he'd be offended if I sent it to them on my own. He said, very scathingly, "If that's what you want to do with your time..." So I sent it off, it sold as part of a two-book deal, was published in 10 countries, optioned for a film (never made but at least I got paid) and was the first Harlequin imprint book ever to receive a starred Kirkus review, causing them to buy three more books from me before the first even came out.

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.

Lauren: When I still needed four part-time jobs to support my writing habit, I used to begin my writing workday between 2:30 and 4:30 a.m. Now I'm more lax. I begin at 7 a.m. when my daughter leaves for school and pretty much work straight through til 4 p.m. when she gets home. If the writing is good, I'll also sneak more time in the nights and on weekends. I do try to arrange things so I'm only answering email etc between 3 and 4 p.m. so I can have "General Hospital" on in the background.

Please tell us about your latest series THE SISTERS EIGHT and what we can expect from your characters.

Lauren: THE SISTERS EIGHT is a nine-book series of books, launching Dec 29 with Annie's Adventures and Durinda's Dangers, about that rarest of things: octuplets. On New Year's Eve, Mommy goes out to the kitchen for eggnog, Daddy goes out to the shed for firewood...and neither returns. Now the Eights, as they are known, must solve the mystery of what happened to their parents while keeping the wider world from realizing that eight little girls are living home alone. The books are geared toward ages 6 to 10 but with early reviewer comparisons to Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl and Edward Gorey, hopefully readers of all ages will enjoy. The books are being published by Houghton Mifflin and the first two have been selected by the Junior Library Guild. Curious parties can read more about the series at the wonderful site Houghton Mifflin created,

Sounds like a terrific series! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Lauren: My next non-SISTERS EIGHT book is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL, due sometime around mid-2009 and also with Houghton Mifflin. It's a contemporary Beauty & the Beast YA story about a gorgeous girl and a boy with hooks for hands.

Lauren, thanks so much for sharing with us! I wish you the best with your new series! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Lauren: I always say the same thing. Read, read, read, because you can't be a good writer if you're not a good reader, and always remember: the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.

By the end of 2008, Lauren Baratz-Logsted will have had 12 books published since 2003 in a variety of genres. For adults: Vertigo (Random House); The Thin Pink Line, Crossing the Line, A Little Change of Face, How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, and Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes (all from RDI). For teens: Angel's Choice and Secrets of My Suburban Life (both from Simon & Schuster). For tweens: Me, In Between (S&S). For young readers: the first two volumes in The Sisters Eight series, co-written with her husband Greg Logsted and their eight-year-old daughter Jackie, both of which books will be twin lead titles from Houghton Mifflin in December. Lauren is also the editor and a contributor to the anthology This Is Chick-Lit (BenBella) and has had several stories and essays published. Her books have been published in 11 countries and you can read more about her life and work at

Monday, December 08, 2008

What’s Fresh with Janette Rallison!

Some of you may remember that Janette Rallison and I did a booksigning together in Mesa, Arizona in the summer of ’07.

She’s great fun to be around, not to mention a heck of an author, so I touched base with her again over the Thanksgiving holiday, and invited her to visit with us on YA FRESH...

Hi, Janette! Could you tell us a bit about your career, the types of books you write, and how you made your first sale?

I started writing long ago when I realized that writing was way more fun than doing housework. Twelve years later (and countless unmopped floors) I've written fifteen books, nine of which are young adult novels. My books tend to be romantic comedies because I love a book that can make me laugh and I'm a hopeless romantic. Even though My Fair Godmother is a fantasy, it's still a romantic comedy. But it was way more fun to write than my typical high school novel so it definitely won't be my last fantasy. I'm hooked on mysterious Black Knights, dragons, wizards, enchanted goats--all of it.

I found my agent, Erin Murphy, through the recommendations of people in my SCWBI group. I sent her a manuscript and she accepted it. I know that's not the way it is for a lot of people, though. It's more common to query tens or even hundreds of agents before they find a fit. I just got lucky that I got an agent who liked my writing style and story on the first try.

What's your writing routine like?

After I get the kids off to school, I tell myself that I will not get ready for the day until I've written four pages. Then I go check my email and somehow manage to spend two or three hours on the computer doing email and business stuff. Finally I realize that it's getting late, I eat lunch, and start writing. This is when the time-continuum speeds up, and suddenly the children come home and I'm still in my pajamas. I'm trying to convince people that I actually have a job working night-shift, but I'm not sure anyone buys it.

Please tell us about your latest novel, My Fair Godmother.

I admit that I'm awful in describing my own books. Authors are supposed to have snappy synopsis on hand for this question and you'd think after twelve years of being a published author I would. Instead I always end up telling people, "Well, it's about this girl . . ." So here's the flap cover:

After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

Sounds great! And Romantic Times clearly agreed, because I read the very nice review they gave it! So, what's up next?

I'm always working on something new. I have a book coming out in March called Just One Wish. It's about this girl . . . okay, I will try to be less boring as I describe it. Annika's little brother has a brain tumor and wants to meet his idol--an actor who plays Teen Robin Hood--before his upcoming surgery. Annika decides to drive to Hollywood to find and convince the actor (who, by the way is extremely hot) to come visit her brother. It's still a romantic comedy--but this book will make you cry. I cried when I wrote it and every single time I went through it doing revisions.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

It seems like the writing tip I'm giving to people most these days is this: get deeply into your protagonist's point of view. See, think, feel, what they are seeing, thinking, and feeling. Your story should hardly ever be told from the author's point of view. Let the main character tell it.

I couldn’t agree more! Thanks so much, Janette, and I know we’re all going to be looking forward to picking up My Fair Godmother. the way, I will be reviewing here at YA Fresh in upcoming weeks, as Janette has been gracious enough to offer to send me a copy. So look for that, and for all of Janette’s very funny books.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Book Party: The Deets!

Wow, authors Mari Mancusi and Melissa Walker hosted a very cool book party in NYC this week and they wanted to share all their fun! Mari just released Gamer Girl which looks totally hot and Melissa celebrated with her latest in her cool young model series, Violet in Private!

In honor of Mancusi’s Gamer Girl, each table had a game for guests to play (Hungry Hippos and Operation got the most action). And the fashion world came out in force for the third book in Walker’s Violet series about a young model, Violet in Private.

“It was the perfect way to celebrate both our books and young adult fiction in general,” says Mancusi. “Elegant, with a hint of whimsy.”

In attendance were media outlets Vogue, Teen Vogue, ELLE, InStyle, Daily Candy, AOL, Parents TV and CNN. Leading authors in both Young Adult and adult fiction also celebrated with Mancusi and Walker. At the party were Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Maureen Johnson, Bennett Madison, Deborah Gregory, Diana Peterfreund, Michael Northrop, Liz Maverick and Anisha Lakhani.

Here are authors Scott Westerfeld, Mari, Diana Peterfreund, and Melissa.

And Melissa with authors Bennett Madison and Deborah Gregory.

Very fun!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Puppy Cam!

Have you heard about the new internet sensation, a pretty near round-the-clock camera feed of six Shiba Inu puppies in San Francisco?

Set up by the owners to keep an eye on the pups while at work, the site has taken the world by storm as the puppies play, chew, paw and sleep, netting as many as four million viewers in one week.

Check them out:

Puppy Cam

For the record, they are three boys and three girls: Aki (green collar), Akoni (black collar), Ando (blue collar) and girls Autumn (purple collar), Ayumi (yellow collar) and Amaya (red collar).

But bad news for anyone who wants to take one home...apparently they are all already spoken for.

Still, very fun to watch! (Although note: if you only see still pictures, it means the camera is down for a bit.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

I finally went to see the film adaption of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight...

I enjoyed Stephenie Meyer's novel Twilight. I sighed at the romance, smiled at Bella and Edward, and shivered during vampire violence, so I definitely wanted to check out the movie.

And I believe this movie was made for the fans.

With very minor changes, the movie followed much of the major scenes of the book. I love when that happens.

I dragged my husband along to watch with me, what a great guy, huh? He liked when the action picked up, but he hadn't read the book! He didn't know all the scenes that made it to the movie. He couldn't compare novel Bella to film Bella or novel Edward to film Edward.

But I could, and it was fun. I'm going to share a bit about the movie that I enjoyed without giving too much away!

Scenes that made me sigh:

When Edward saved Bella--twice.
The scene in the forest.
Edward and Bella's first kiss.

Scenes that made me smile:

Edward's first reaction to Bella's scent.
Jasper's painful expression.
Vampire baseball.
Bella and her father's reactions to boys.

Scenes that made me shiver:

Edward and Bella's first kiss.
The scary vampires.

Would I have enjoyed the book less without having read the book...maybe, so I'm glad I introduced myself to the novel Edward and Bella before the film Edward and Bella!

So have you seen it? Share your thoughts or your blog links? If you haven't seen it, do you want to?