Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Time for Halloween!

I saw this image recently, and couldn't help put post it here, to show people what Trick or Treat bags looked like when I was little:

Moms would stuff them with homemade cookies, popcorn balls, Rice Krispie bars and small, unwrapped candies, and hand them out at the door. Unsealed. Yes, it was a different era!

My favorite dress-up character--I remember going with this at least twice--was a gypsy. It was great fun to dress up in my mom's big clothes, wear her long necklaces, and apply her lipstick!

Kelly and I were chatting earlier, and when I asked her what her favorite Halloween costume had been, she said: "My favorite costume as a kid was a gypsy! I used to love to dress in my mom's long skirts and scarves, draping myself with dangly jewelry, and piling on the make-up."

Okay--are we "twins separated at birth" or what?

And for those of you who tune into the TV show, Mad Men, a gypsy is what Don and Betty Draper's daughter dressed as this year, as well.

But there are SO MANY other options! What has been your favorite costume? Leave as a comment and tell us.

(Oh, and as a P.S., "only" three Halloween-sized candy bars were eaten during the writing of this blog.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Read Beyond Reality" Winner!

Thanks to you all for entering our "Read Beyond Reality" Giveaway in honor of Teen Read Week!

The Random winner is...

Meredith F. for Sphinx's Princess!!

Congrats Meredith!

Please email me through my website with your mailing address!

Thanks, Everyone!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Randomly Fresh "Read Beyond Reality" Giveaway!

It's Random. It's Fresh. It's Read Beyond Reality. It's a Giveaway!

Hey YAFreshers, in honor of Teen Read Week, we wanted to surprise our visitors with another Randomly Fresh Giveaway!

Up this week are three titles that are--you guessed it--beyond our reality...

Since it is in honor of Teen Read Week, anyone can enter! Just leave a comment with one of the 3 books shown above that you are interested in reading, from now until Sunday evening, and one lucky winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, October 26th. :)

Thanks and happy random commenting!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Teen Read Week 2009!

Are you celebrating Teen Read Week?

"Teen Read Week 2009 is celebrated Oct. 18-24! This year's theme is Read Beyond Reality @ your library, which encourages teens to read something out of this world, just for the fun of it." Thanks to YALSA!

And the cool Readergirlz are celebrating--all week!

Every night this week, they'll be live chats with fresh YA authors at 6pm PST/9pm EST. Tonight's chat is with Holly Cupala (TELL ME A SECRET), Lisa McMann (WAKE), and Cynthia Leitich Smith (ETERNAL)!

And all day Friday (October 24, 2009), YA authors are sharing vlogs/blogs supporting Teen Read Week, and *ahem* I contributed a short and silly vlog, so stayed tuned! *smiles*


Monday, October 19, 2009

Confession Time...

Okay, so I have a fresh confession to make.

I'm over 30 and I'm an iCarly fan.

You see, it started off innocently, sitting with my children as they watched an episode or two.

I mean, Carly's a sweet girl. Sam's tough side is adorable. Freddie is too cute. And Spencer always cracks me up.

Who doesn't love Random Dancing?? Or shirtless Gibby?? And a web show that's fun all the time??

So I've confessed...I've watched episode after episode. Twice.

♥ Like when Freddie makes a bet with Sam and loses then has to have Sam tattooed on his body...
♥ Or when Carly starts dating a bad boy then discovers he loves Pee-Wee babies and isn't so bad after all...
♥ Or when Spencer thinks a girl only likes him when he's wearing his tuxedo and goes jogging with it on under his sweats??
♥ Or when Freddie and Sam share a first kiss--then in a later episode Carly finds out they never told her!

And still I LOL!

I don't care if it's aimed toward young kids, I shall forever be young at heart. :) name is Kelly. I watch iCarly, and I'm proud of it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'...

Last weekend, I took a trip back east. After what felt like years of hot and dry California days, the fun started the minute I started packing.

I went through my closet, pulling out my fall and winter clothing to create outfits for the events. But when it came to shoes, it was a no-brainer to reach for both pairs of my boots. Which happen to be a pair of soft Uggs, and high heeled black leather.

I quickly realized how much I'd missed wearing my boots, how they "snazz up" my wardrobe.

So I thought I'd find a few pairs of boots that are popular this fall--especially with teens--and present them here. And ask our readers to vote: (colors notwithstanding) which of these pairs of boots would you grab if you had the chance?

The slouchy boots:

The strappy boots:

Or the suede boots:

I'll go first: while I like all three, I think I'd go strappy because I love a good heel. Who's next?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free Book Friday Teens!

Have you heard of this cool site?

Free Book Friday Teens is hosted by author Jessica Brody, and visitors get to read cool interviews by young adult authors and enter to win--you guessed it--free books!

What is FBF Teens?

It's simple. Every Friday, we give away free books!

That's right. Each week, we feature a new young adult author with an exclusive author interview podcast or written Q&A and host a drawing to win free signed copies of his/her book.

All you have to do to enter to win each week is sign up using the entry form on the left sidebar. Winners are chosen at random and posted on the site every Friday morning. Hence the name, "Free Book Friday!"

I'm being interview this week and giving away 3 copies of Invisible Touch to 3 lucky visitors! Winners TBA October 16th.

And don't forget to check back each week to see who is being interviewed next and what book might be up for grabs!



Monday, October 12, 2009

The Marla Frazee Giveaway Winner...

is Natasha Rath!

Natasha, contact me at with mailing information and we'll get the book in the mail to you.

Thanks to all who entered!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Marla Frazee Giveaway!

Caldecott Winner Marla Frazee spoke at Flintridge Bookstore in La Canada, California last weekend, and even though I had a very hectic schedule, I made sure to attend. Not only because she is a highly regarded children's book author and illustrator, but because I happen to be a big fan.

The Clementine series (written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee) is one of my favorite chapter book series.

The characters jump off the page with realism, the storylines are funny and offer clever twists, and the illustrations so endearing that I want to reach down and give little Clementine a big mom-like hug!

Marla was kind enough to answer my question, something I'd been dying to know about the author/illustrator relationship: who decides which scenes and elements to illustrate?

She told me that she does. That first she reads the whole manuscript through, then analyzes the story to see what she could contribute to the project. She mentioned illustrations being like a movie soundtrack that supports the story, and how like music, she looks to make the story "swell."

Wow, huh?

Afterwards, I bought a copy of Clementine's Letter, which she signed for me:

I am giving away another copy of Clementine's Letter, unsigned and hardcover, so that others can share in this wonderful series. All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment naming either a picture or chapter book with illustrations you admire...or an children's book illustrator's name.

Good luck! And this contest will run through the weekend, with the winner named on Monday.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


The winner of NEVER CRY WEREWOLF by Heather Davis is Heather H!

Which reminded me of that teen movie from the late '80's called HEATHERS. In any case, Heather H., please e-mail me (Tina) at with contact information so we can get the copy in the mail to you!

Thanks to all who entered!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Never Cry Werewolf Giveaway!

YA Fresh welcomes Heather Davis to our interview mic today, to talk about her recently released debut novel, Never Cry Werewolf, and her writer’s life.

Heather has been kind enough to offer up a signed copy of the book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to enter. (But sorry, cupcake not included!)

Hello, Heather! Thanks for joining us. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I’ve always been a writer. When I was in elementary school I wrote plays and in high school, I wrote poetry and faithfully kept a journal. I went off to college as a film major. I had a weekly comic strip in the school newspaper and did a ton of writing related to film. After graduating, I fell in love and stayed in the Pacific Northwest for a boy. I turned back to comics and story boarding, until I went to a writers’ conference and the light switched on. I should be writing stories. After that epiphany, I started writing and submitting short fiction and made my first sale to Cricket Magazine in 1999. By the end of 2000, I’d completed my first adult novel and was attending a critique group in the small mountain town I’d moved to with my then husband. Flash forward to me a few years later substitute teaching elementary school, with five unpublished adult novels under my belt. Suddenly it occurred to me that I needed to be writing for my students – and a YA novelist was born.

Two years and many rejection slips after that, I had a fabulous agent, a manuscript that won the Golden Heart for best Young Adult Romance and was a single girl, once again. My agent sold Never Cry Werewolf that fall of 2006. Yep, it’s been a long, convoluted road. No one ever said you shouldn’t suffer for your art, right?

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.

I work a regular office job for a great company and it’s very demanding. At the end of that long workday day, I pack myself down to the coffee shop on the way home from the office – 3 days a week, usually. I sit there with my laptop (never asking for the Internet password!) for an average of two hours working on a new draft. When I’m revising, I’m more likely to be doing my normal two hour stint at home after work. I guess the energy and comfort required for revising and drafting are completely different for me.

On an average day on a new draft, I’ll spend a few minutes reading through what I wrote during my last session and making tiny adjustments. I’ll pore over the handwritten outline in my journal and make adjustments on that. Then, I just write, usually two scenes. Then, after my time is up, I’ll make a note in my journal on how long I wrote and what I accomplished. Sometimes I write on the weekends, too – it just depends on what else is going on in my life. Above all I know that if I haven’t accomplished the weeks pages, I will feel really, really guilty. Writing for me is a regular, disciplined process that I need to do regularly to sustain my happiness and well-being.

Please tell us about Never Cry Werewolf and what we can expect from this book.

This is a sweet, funny paranormal romance that is perfect for younger YA readers. This is not doom and gloom and suffering – it’s just for entertainment. There are a lot of paranormal books out there which fill the need to bring people down, but NCW is uplifting. It’s the tale of Shelby, an average girl sent to brat camp by an evil stepmother. At Camp Crescent, she meets Austin, a dark hero trying to keep his Lycan heritage under wraps. Shelby’s struggling to do the right thing, but her need to help people usually gets her into trouble, and once she meets irresistible Austin, she’s toast.

And allow me to add that I read Never Cry Werewolf--practically in one sitting because the pages just kept on turning. The woodsy setting of the Brat Camp, the full moons and the idea that Austin might go werewolf at any point kept me spellbound, and jumping at unexpected noises in the book and in my house! Plus, I loved the romance: Austin is totally dreamy, even with all those extra whiskers...

Next question: you have another project in the works?

Yes, The Clearing will be coming out this April from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It’s a dark, time-travel romance with an empowering theme. Amy, a girl recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to escape her old life. There on her aunt’s farmland, she meets Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. They are two people, out of time, who need each other in different ways. It’s a very romantic, powerful story. It’s very different from NCW.

I'll be anxiously awaiting it. And would you like to close with a writing tip?

Just that if you’re trying to write you should be kind to yourself. By being kind, I mean that you shouldn’t judge yourself too harshly, or expect perfection. Let yourself be messy and terrible – whatever it takes to get that first draft down on paper. Later, you will go back and revise and clean everything up.

And, don’t compare yourself to other people. Your writing journey is your own – so whatever anyone else is doing has very little to do with you. Just write the best story you have inside of you. And if it’s not the best, revise it, learn from it, and then move on a write more. It takes zillions of hours of practice to master anything, even if you have “natural” talent. Okay, I guess there were a few tips in there. I hope at least one of them was helpful.

Great! Thanks, Heather!

And now, about the contest! Never Cry Werewolf has a dark, gruff but charming, British hero that readers seem to love. To win a copy of the book, in comments, post the qualities of a hero character you would love to create or read about. One winner will be chosen at random on Sunday evening to win an signed copy of Never Cry Werewolf. Good luck!