Friday, July 31, 2009

The August Multicultural Book Spotlight on YAF

There's a cool challenge going on @ Read Into This!

With the cover controversy that's been happening with Justine Larbalestier's Liar, multicultural books have taken the spotlight. It's sad that this issue has to come about for multicultural books to receive extra notice. A couple of weeks ago there was an excellent post on books of color on Chasing Ray, and the lack of MC books published.

So it's time to shine some more positive light! Here's RIT's challenge:

This is a 30-day challenge that ends on August 30th. [...] I've compiled a list of some multicultural books that I have either read, plan to read, or were recommended to me. If you have any other suggestions, make a comment and I will take a look and add it to the list. :)

- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- Bang! by Sharon Flake
- Broken China by Lori Aurelia Williams
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
- Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole
- First Daughter: An Extreme American Makeover by Mitali Perkins
- First Part Last by Angela Johnson
- Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
- Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
- Hush by Jacqueline Woodson
- If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko
- The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston
- My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson
- Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
- Played by Dana Davidson
- Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper
- Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
- Sold by Patricia McCormick
- What I Meant... by Marie Lamba

Here is another great compiled list of suggested MC books that readers may want to check out.

Now for YA Fresh's spin on the challenge... I'm going to participate too, but I can't read all of these books in one month. What I can do is post quick spotlights all through August on MC books. On some days there will be double posts because we'll have other YAF posts to share. Sounds like a big challenge even for me! haha. :) But I know it will be fun!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Bag of Tricks

I am one of those gigantic handbag carriers. A line I often use is, "I need a purse big enough to comfortably carry a hardcover book."

Like the above picture? Not me (although feel free to confuse me with a sophisticated 20-something with fantastic hair) but the bag she is carrying is the stuff my dreams are made of.


While gone are my days of hauling around diapers and wipes, I think my wallet alone weighs two pounds. And then there's the make-up case and brush, the author signing kit (stickers, bookmarks, favorite pen), sunglasses, cell phone, notebook for all those wonderful book ideas I'm planning to have...and then, yeah, a book. Paperback, hardcover, sometimes even my Kindle.

On the rare occasion that I need to go somewhere with just a little evening bag, I'm stymied. I usually end up pulling the essentials from my wallet and going with the bare minimum...and feel anxious to get back home to my bag of tricks.

I'd love to hear from readers who go BIG, go small, go backpack, or merely pocket. What are your needs, what are your secrets? And what's the one item you can't do without?

Monday, July 27, 2009

YA Workshop Recap!

The event in Monterey, CA with the Central Coast Writers was awesome!

CCW: YA Workshop,the room

The meetings are held at a lovely hotel, where Shelley Adina (All About US Series) and I were provided dinner and dessert. We chatted with many of the members, who were all very gracious and wonderful.

After the CCW business concluded, I opened up the workshop by thanking everyone for inviting us. This was my second workshop on the topic of multicultural YA. I was a little calmer this time around! (haha!) But I still need some experience here!

CCW: YA Workshop

Shelley is an absolute pro! She knows her stuff and went through her Inspirational topic like a breeze!

CCW: YA Workshop

Here are the points we basically covered:

~ The Dos and Don'ts of Multicultural YA
~ The Inspirational Market
~ How to reach your target audience
~ How to reach readers through the Internet

With various questions from the audience, such as how do we pick our character's names, are personally diaries marketable, would specific ideas or age groups sell for YAs, etc. We had a steady Q&A going, which was very nice!

I also had a pleasant surprise visit by one of our blogger friends, Kelsey from Reading Keeps you Sane! She was visiting family in California, and this summer she'd met Sarah Dessen too! It was so awesome of her to attend our workshop!

CCW: YA Workshop with blogger

I think a few hundred more of these events and I might just actually feel like I know what I'm doing. *wink*

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prom Hair!

For years, I’ve used the term “Prom Hair” to denote the kind of elegant up-do that girls don for school dances, and later for weddings and banquets and award ceremonies. But until last week, I’ve never actually had “Prom Hair.”

Here’s a picture of Rosemary Clement-Moore and me from last weekend’s RITA/Golden Heart Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C., with our “Prom Hair.”

No way I could have sprayed and clipped that “do” by myself, and my local hairdresser knew it, and urged me to call the hotel salon ahead of time and make an appointment. Great idea!

In fact, it turned out a RITA finalist in another category had the same idea, and we had great fun with a-hundred-miles-an-hour excited blabbing while getting all fancy schmancy.

I walked out of the salon feeling sophisticated and confident, and ready for a night of fun and awards and celebration.

And it made me realize, that as small as something as a hair style is, in the scheme of things, it really made a difference. I’m going to give my hairstylist a big hug next time I see her--just as I did Rosemary when her book, Hell Week, won for Best Young Adult Romance, and later, when our category’s third nominee, Tera Lynn Childs, won Best First Book for Oh.My.Gods!

So tell us, have you ever had “Prom Hair?” And did it give you that extra zing too?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Workshop in Cali

If you're in the California coastal area, I'm giving a workshop with YA author, Shelley Adina!

We'll be in Monterey, California tomorrow, July 21st, 2009, talking YA!

Emerging Genres: Writing and Selling Multicultural
and Inspirational Young Adult Fiction

"Today’s market is more difficult to break into than ever, but there are under served niches that editors and agents are looking to fill. Multi-published young-adult authors Kelly Parra and Shelley Adina will discuss two of these: the multicultural and inspirational genres, with a focus on young adult fiction. They’ll share tips on how to write for these readers, strategies for breaking in, and the do’s and don’ts they’ve learned the hard way. They’ll also share some of their marketing and promotion strategies for reaching readers."

Check out the info @ Central Coast California Writers.

I received an email from one of our blogger friends, who is visiting the area and said she'll be attending, so I'm excited!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Postcards from the Road!

Hello from the Romance Writers of America national conference in Washington, D.C.! I am having a fun and productive experience, networking with numerous young adult authors, reviewers, bloggers, agents and editors.

Here are a few pictures from Wednesday night's Literary Signing with YA Fresh friends.

Above is the three Young Adult RITA finalists: me, Rosemary Clement-Moore and Tera Lynn Childs.

Now here I am with Golden Heart finalist, Vanessa Barnevelt, who traveled all the way from Australia!

And here is Melissa Francis (whose first YA is due out shortly, which I believe is called BITE ME and has a stunning cover), and Jennifer Echols (whose books we've read and raved about here), and me. Jen, by the way, "made" me a RITA flag to sit by my books because apparently none of the flags made the trip to DC this year. (Thanks again, Jen!)

And lastly, our YA Fresh friend, Kay Cassidy, has been kind enough to feature me in her Author Spotlight blog today. So if you're so inclined, click HERE to read her interview with me and play the "Three Truths and a Lie Game." She's giving away a copy of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys to one lucky commenter! Good luck!

I'll be back next week with more! Happy weekend, everyone!

Loading Problems?

It has come to my attention that visitors have been having trouble viewing YA Fresh. ugh! The problem is I don't know what is the cause of the problem. *grin* The widgets will hold up loading occasionally--that's a google blogger issue. But I have taken the background off for if that helps with the loading of the site, please let me know!


And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kicking off the Steph Kuehnert Launch Party!

Author Stephanie Kuehnert has kicked off her cyber launch for her second novel, Ballads of Suburbia, releasing July 21st! This cyber celebration is a month long party, with guest blogs and giveaways by authors, musicians, and other cool peeps!

The cool thing is you can follow Stephanie Kuehnert's celebration on Livejournal and Blogspot.

Here is a trailer of all the guests participating during the month's launch:

So get ready to join this awesome party!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

We Have A Winner!

The winner of the three signed copies of this year's
Young Adult RITA award winning novels is...


Congratulations, Cait045, and please contact me at with a mailing address (and name you'd like the books signed to)
and I'll make sure we get the books in the mail to you ASAP!
Thank you to all of you who played and entered!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Win All 3 YA RITA Nominated Books!

Many of our readers remember us talking last year about the Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best YA Book because Kelly was up for Graffiti Girl!

This year, I was lucky enough to get “the call,” and it was made all the sweeter for me when I heard the authors who are also in the category, Rosemary Clement-Moore and Tera Lynn Childs, both wonderful writers and friends!

So I had this silly idea to play a little RITA game here at YA Fresh, and give away all three books to one commenter, and Rosemary and Tera were up for it, so away we go...

The Rules: Pretend your editor asked you to write two books conforming to two titles: the others in your Rita category. What spin might you put on them?

Let’s start my book, How to Hook a Hottie:

Tera says: “Big city fashionista falls for a hunky professional fly fisherman and joins his month-long wilderness fishing expedition so she can spend quality time with her dream guy.”

Rosemary says: “A carefree summer fishing trip goes horribly awry when the hapless group of teens pulls a sulphurous demon out of the depths. Can they save the world from a creature that comes from way WAY farther down than the Black Lagoon? It's 'Most Dangerous Catch' meets 'Drag me to Hell.'"

Okay, so what’s the blurb on the back of the book?

“At 17, Kate Delvecchio has one goal in life: to become a millionaire before the age of 20. And as far as she’s concerned, college will only slow her down. Unfortunately for Kate, the one thing her parents do agree on is that they totally disagree with her strategy. And so the deal is born. If Kate can raise five thousand big ones by graduation day, her parents will hand over the balance of her college account to invest as she pleases. No college, no degree, and no way she’ll ever be able to pull it off.

But when Kate accidentally agrees to go to the sports banquet with the hottest guy at school, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the junior class is amazed that no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one they approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn’t know anything about getting guys, but for $100 a pop, she’s more than willing to invent a six-step plan for How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?”

Next up, Tera Lynn Childs' Oh.My.Gods.

Rosemary says: "A late night study session in Comparative Religion goes horrible awry, releasing a pantheon of trickster deities from around the world, and a mismatched group of misfits have to round up the supernormal scamps before they wreck havoc onto an unsuspecting suburban shopping mall. It's 'Clueless' meets 'The Breakfast Club' meets 'Supernatural.'"

Tina says: "hmmm...that's going to feature a collection of brothers, a la Jonas, Wahlberg or Baldwin, where one is simply hotter than the next. OMIGOD, OMIGOD...OMIGODS!"

The real deal:

“When Phoebe’s mom returns from Greece with a new husband and plans to move to an island in the Aegean Sea, Phoebe’s well-plotted senior year becomes ancient history. Now, instead of enjoying a triumphant track season and planning for college with her best friends, Phoebe is trying to keep her head above water at the überexclusive Academy. If it isn’t hard enough being the new kid in school, Phoebe’s classmates are all descendents of the Greek gods! When you’re running against teammates with superpowers, dealing with a stepsister from Hades, and nursing a crush on a boy who is quite literally a god, the drama takes on mythic proportions!”

Last, but never least, Rosemary Clement-Moore's Hell Week.

Tina says: "gotta be summer camp. Adventures include looking inside the latrine, a coiled rattlesnake, and no internet access."

Tera says: "December 21, 2012 -- After years of speculating about the Mayan doomsday prophecy, the world's fears are realized when the major television networks announce a week-long reality TV blackout"

But according to

“Maggie Quinn is determined to make her mark as a journalist. The only problem? The Ranger Report does not take freshmen on staff.

Rules are rules. But when has that ever stopped Maggie?

After facing hellfire, infiltrating sorority rush should be easy. It’s no Woodward and Bernstein, but going undercover as the Phantom Pledge will allow her to write her exposé. Then she can make a stealth exit before initiation. But when she finds a group of girls who are after way more than “sisterhood,” all her instincts say there’s something rotten on Greek Row. And when Hell Week rolls around, there may be no turning back.

If there is such a thing as a sorority from hell, you can bet that Maggie Quinn will be the one to stumble into.”

Okay...who else wants to play? Take a quick stab at how you would spin either Hell Week, Oh.My.Gods or How to Hook a Hottie (just one will do, and you can be brief), and be entered to win all three copies of this year’s RITA nominated books. Or tell us which one(s) you liked best! Or just say "Enter me." It's easy!

The winner will be named Sunday night, July 12th! Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Thanks for entering in the latest giveaway, YA Freshers!

3 Lucky winners have won:

A galley of the book
A Magic Eightball Keychain
(and when the book is released) And an autographed copy of AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELED.

And the winners are...
The Golfing Librarian, YABookNerd, and Summer!

Please email me through my website with your mailing info so you can get your goodies!

Thanks and happy reading!


Monday, July 06, 2009

Jennifer Sturman Giveaway!!

We're starting off this week with a cool giveaway by Jennifer Sturman!

Jennifer Sturman is the author of two adult mysteries and has now blasted into YA with her cool novel, AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELED by Scholastic Point.

This is what we'll be giving away:

3 galleys of the book
3 Magic Eightball Keychains
(and when the book is released) 3 autographed copies of AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELED.

Here's what the story is about:

Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels.

Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead - excpet Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts - a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen.

And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother.

As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets - especially the dangerous ones - were never meant to be unraveled.

Sounds like a intriguing read, huh? Leave a comment of your favorite mystery book or mystery movie or detective and we'll pick the three lucky winners on Thursday, July 9th, 2009!

Also Jennifer is having a cool event in the New York area July 22, 2009 @ 7:00 to 8:00 PM @ the Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers.

Happy commenting and good luck! :)

Jennifer Sturman is the author of several mystery novels, including The Pact and The Jinx. After graduating from Harvard College, Jennifer earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She now lives in New York City, a few blocks from Delia’s aunt Charley. She has no free time, but if she did she would probably spend it watching teen movies from the ’80s. Visit her website,

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Pillow Talk!

Some people really enjoy redecorating their living spaces. It’s a creative outlet for them, from the planning to the shopping to the final product.

I love seeing what people come up with, and wish I shared their talents, but my creativity emerges in stories, not design and decoration. Plus, there’s the financial aspect, that I just can’t spend a lot of money on “extras.”

But the other day I was shopping and saw big, flowery pillows that just so happened to be the colors of my living room. On a whim, I bought two, one for each end of the couch. And I have to tell you...I’m delighted, feel like they’ve spruced up the whole place!

And it made me wonder what other inexpensive things could be done to jazz up someone’s personal space. Like:

--a back-of-a-bedroom door mirror
--a corner ceiling net for a collection of stuffed animals
--a bulletin board by the computer
--a new blanket for a dorm room


Well, I’m no expert! But I thought I’d throw this out to our YA Fresh readers and see what you can come up with, as well. Who knows, maybe by summer’s end, my flowery pillows will “grow” and spread to other new and different decorating things. (Hey, it could happen. LOL.)