Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Woo-hoo, it's that exciting night again, New Year's Eve! Last year I toasted in the new year with a fever and a medicine cup of Nyquil, so no question that this New Year's Eve is going to be better for me!

We'd love to hear any plans you have for celebrating the big night.

And Happy New Year to all our friends at YA Fresh!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kelly Parra Shares Her Favorite Holiday Movie

For our final young adult author's favorite holiday movie, I put our own Kelly Parra in the hot seat. What say you, Kelly?

"My favorite Christmas movie," she tells us, "is none other than Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

"Why? Because it brings me back to my days as a kid, watching it every Christmas Holiday, and still it plays today! I was curious and did a little research...

Release date? 1964!

Before my time, definitely before my kids', and yet it's a heart-warming classic, with a cute reindeer embarrassed by his red nose, a jolly Santa, and a kind of awkward and unforgettable Abominable Snowman."

Definitely a personal favorite in our house, but I think I get a little more nostalgic about the movie than anyone else in my family."

I love that one, too, Kelly! And we'd love our readers to weigh in on Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or any other favorite holiday movies, as we come to the end of our (very fun) month of hearing some of the favorite movies of our favorite authors.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to our friends here at YA Fresh!

To all who celebrate Christmas, wishing you a safe and merry holiday! And if you find some new books among your Santa haul or in presents around the tree, please come back and share the news with us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kay Cassidy’s Favorite Holiday Movie

Today we are happy to feature Kay Cassidy, debut author of The Cinderella Society (to be released on April 13, 2010, but available for pre-orders now).

She wrote us up the following essay--and how cute is this?--called "Why ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas' is the best Christmas movie ever!”

Take it away, Kay...

I love holiday movies. LOVE. THEM. When I was younger, my mom always planned our tree trimming evening the day of a big Christmas special on TV. This was back in the day before they were available on video, so you only got to watch each one once a year (if you were lucky!). I will always equate those classic Christmas movies to decorating the tree, time spent with family, and my mom's egg nog. Mmmm.

Which movies do I adore? I love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I chill to Frosty the Snowman. But my favorite classic of all? A Charlie Brown Christmas, hands down.

While there is much to love about this Peanuts classic, here are my favorite things:

** The scene with Lucy and Schroeder where Lucy is trying to get him to play the "real" Jingle Bells. The look on Schroeder's face when he finally gives up and does it her way makes me laugh every time.

** When Lucy instructs Charlie Brown to buy a Christmas tree... a "nice aluminum one". Commercialism to the extreme. As an ace shopping avoider, I can relate to how Charlie Brown feels.

** When Charlie Brown gives up on his poor little tree and the others finally come around to embrace it, decorating it up until it is beyond anything its tiny little branches could imagine? Gets me every time.

** And, of course, what would a Charlie Brown holiday special be without Linus as the voice of reason? His short and sweet vignette about the true meaning of Christmas is classic Linus in its simplicity and reverence. (Although in truth, my favorite Linus moment is in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving when he explains to Peppermint Patty and the gang what Thanksgiving is really about.)

So here's to holiday classics and time spent with family. No matter how you spend these last few days of December, I hope they find you happy, healthy, and filled with cheer!
Thank you, Kay, and we look forward to having you back here at YA Fresh next year, to learn more about your writing and The Cinderella Society!

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from our you remember the Charlie Brown Christmas movie as well and as fondly? I sure do...and often point out the small trees on the Christmas lots and try to get my family to indulge me in a Charlie Brown Christmas tree! Hasn't happened yet...but someday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Keri Mikulski's Favorite Holiday Movie and Book

Today we are happy to host Keri Mikulski, author of Screwball, Change-Up, and the upcoming 2011 Pretty Tough series to talk about her holiday favorites.

"Ah.. The holidays," says Keri. " There is nothing better than snuggling up on the couch next to a sparkly tree and watching a movie or diving into an amazing book. Total bliss.

So, what’s my fave holiday movie? By far, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Even though I’ve seen it over a zillion times, I still come down with a serious case of the giggles each and every time I spend time with the Griswalds. Gotta love Grandma."

"And holiday books," continues Keri. "So many to choose from… Last year, I loved John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle’s Let it Snow. But, the holidays are my time to cuddle up with a cozy holiday-themed romance. My faves are the classic old lovers reunite during the holidays. A guy and a girl (went to the same high school, middle school, elementary school, knew each other from past, etc…) are stuck in their hometown for a White Christmas. They’re both seriously down on their luck and happen to run into each other at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. After chatting, heart flutters, and stomach swirls, they realize they’re soul mates and live happily ever after. Sigh.

Have a fabulous holiday, everyone! I cannot wait for 2010."

Thank you, Keri. And some of our YA Fresh readers might know that I consider Let It Snow to be my favorite holiday book, as well. In fact, I might just have to make a tradition of re-reading it each December!

We'd love to hear from readers about holiday books or holiday themes they enjoy reading!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holly Cupala's Favorite Holiday Movie

Today we’re featuring debut young adult author Holly Cupala who I first met a couple years back as a reader here at YA Fresh. She won one of our giveaways, and when she passed me at a writing conference some months later, we both recognized each other’s names, and have been fast on-line friends ever since.

Holly’s first book, Tell Me a Secret releases on June 22, 2010 and has already received praise and wonderful blurbs from best-selling authors Ellen Hopkins and Deb Caletti!

So now tell us, Holly, what is your favorite holiday movie?

“Favorite holiday movie, you ask?” she says. “Well, there is really only one answer for me. In fact, it has to be sung (sounds of throat clearing, toe-tapping):

I'm Mr. White Christmas, I'm Mr. Snow...
I'm Mr. Icicle,
I'm Mr. 10 Below...

They call me SNOW MISER.
Whatever I touch...
Starts to freeze in my clutch!
I'm too much, da-dum dum dum, daaaa dum!

What, you've never heard of that one? Well, allow me to introduce you to THE
YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS, Christmas Special circa 1962 (long, looong
before I was born), in which two wayward elves and a heat-sick baby reindeer must make a bargain with Heat Miser and his icy brother, Snow Miser, to bring a blizzard to Southtown and convince the villagers that Santa does, in fact, exist. Hijinks and henchmen choruses ensue.

This is by far the best way I know to get my sister laughing uncontrollably and turning as red as her hair. Hmm, perhaps I've just found the perfect gift... Whee - you can buy the WHOLE CAST at Toymania. Then we'd never have a year without Santa ever again!”

I don’t know how I missed this one, Holly, but believe me, my eyes and ears are now open. Thank so much for sharing!

And please now, readers, tell us, do you know about the Snow Miser? Do you walk around singing that little ditty, too? Or maybe some other special holiday songs?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Gift of Series Books!

Hey YA Freshers!

I thought I'd make a list of recommended YA series books that you might consider giving for a gift this Holiday season or even trying out yourself during the holiday, maybe? Here are the first books in these awesome series.

Glass House - The Morganville Vampire Series. That's right, Morganville, Texas where Vampires really exist along with humans, and four teen best friends are just trying to keep each other out of danger.

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You - Spy Girl Series by Ally Carter! These are exceptional teen girls from Gallagher Academy who know how to take care of business.

Wake - by Lisa McMann. A girl who hops dreams like she hops classrooms. Fast-paced and suspenseful.

Deadly Little Secret - A Touch novel series by Laurie Faria Stolarz with mystery, suspense, and danger.

The Hunger Games - Set in a postapocalyptic world where kids have to fight for their lives. Intense and gripping.

Okay, these are my gift giving you have any other series suggestions for me?


Monday, December 14, 2009

Amanda Ashby's Favorite Holiday Movie

Today we're happy to chat with New Zealand young adult author Amanda Ashby to find out which film she tends to watch again and again each holiday season...

"This isn't a seasonal one," Amanda tells us, "but for some reason I always watch it at Christmas: Clueless."

"Which is of course the best movie that has ever been made! Even my husband, who shies away from anything remotely teen or girlie, loves it. Such a perfect movie and of course it was a twist on one of my favorite books, Emma by Jane Austen!!! I still listen to the soundtrack all the time as well. Oh yes, I will live to be a major embarassment to my kids!!!!"

I love that movie, too, and still find the phrase "As if!" racing through my brain now and then. Weigh in and tell us if you have any favorite lines from that movie...or if you have a non-holiday movie as your holiday favorite, too.

Thanks for sharing with us, Amanda!

The Winner...

The winner of an autographed copy of Stephanie Hale’s book,

chosen at random from comments left on her favorite holiday movie blog is...


Please e-mail me at and we'll get the book winging to you!

And thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stephanie Hale's Favorite Holiday Movie/Giveaway

Our good friend, Stephanie Hale, the author of the Aspen Brooks series, and the upcoming, The Alpha Bet, was kind enough to weigh in with us about her favorite holiday movie: The Family Stone.

“The movie I have found myself watching at Christmas the last few years is The Family Stone," says Steph. "It isn't really a 'holiday' movie but does take place at Christmas. Who doesn't look forward to spending the holidays with family only to have them driving you crazy five minutes later? It is my dream to write an adult novel someday that touches on the complexities of family so perfectly like this movie does. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it!”

Steph has been kind enough to offer up a signed copy of the third in her Aspen Brooks series, Spring Breakup,

which is of course about a holiday, just not the season we’re presently in. In order to be entered in her contest, simply tell us your favorite holiday. The winner will be announced on Monday!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Santa Amazon Brings Me A Gift

I am excited to share with all of you something I learned this weekend: the fact that put The ABC's of Kissing Boys on their holiday "Great Gift Ideas for Teens" list!

Click HERE to see the whole list. The placement of books tends to shift with sales (I think), but you should find my book on there somewhere!

That sure gave my holidays a happy kickstart!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Wendy Toliver’s Favorite Holiday Movie

First up of our author-friends to share with us their favorite holiday-themed movie is the sweet and funny Wendy Toliver. Who tells us she has two favorite movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf.

“Because,” she tell is, “they are hysterical and movies the whole family, from babies to great-grandparents, can enjoy year after year.”

Sounds wonderful! I’m going to have to check them out. And at the same time, I encourage you to check out Wendy’s two latest books, Miss Match and Lifted, which comes out in June!

The Winner...

The winner of the $20 Barnes and Noble gift card (chosen at random from comments left on my favorite holiday movie blog) is...


and her answer of The Santa Clause!

Congrats to Meredith (who needs to e-mail me at with contact information) and thanks to all who entered!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Favorite Holiday Movies (& a Giveaway)

Kelly and I thought it would be fun to check in with some of our favorite YA Fresh author-friends this month and see what holiday films they’ll be watching (again) this year.

To kick things off, click here to see a trailer on the Turner Classic Movie station featuring my all-time favorite, Christmas in Connecticut.

Barbara Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane who writes a Suzy Homemaker-type magazine column--even though she can’t boil water. The owner of the magazine invites a heroic sailor to spend his first Christmas back from World War II on the farm Elizabeth has invented for her column. She knows that her career is over if the truth comes out, and quickly has to invent a farm, a husband, a baby, cooking skills...and if that’s not bad enough, she and the soldier take one look at each other and hear bells...

Christmas in Connecticut is charming, funny, romantic...and a staple in the Ferraro household.

So now for the details on the giveaway! Share with us your favorite holiday movie and be entered to win a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card to use on purchasing that film...or whatever you’d like! Enter as often as you’d like (with a different title each time, please) and check back on Monday to see the name of the randomly selected winner! Good luck!

And remember to keep checking in here at YA Fresh this month to learn more about our author-friends' favorite movies, too!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What's Fresh with Debbie Rigaud's Perfect Shot

Who doesn't want to be a cover girl?

London Abrams's first love is volleyball, so why does she enter an online modeling competition? Answer: superhottie Brent St. John. London spots Brent signing in contestants at a store, and she gets in line simply to say hi. But she never dreams she'll make it into the competition!

London's now up against fourteen hungry fashionistas willing to do whatever it takes to win. All she wants to win is Brent's heart...but the money prize couldn't hurt. If London plays this right, she can win the contest, the boy, and the cash. GAME ON!

Hello Debbie, welcome to YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Debbie: My background is in magazine journalism. I've climbed my way up the masthead working at different mags, including Seventeen, Twist and TV Guide's start-up Inside TV. It's been an amazing experience, and I connected with teen readers in the process. All the while, I knew very little about book publishing. Through a co-worker, I met Adrienne Ingrum, a former book editor for a major publisher. She's the person I contacted when I was researching how to get a book published. It turned out to be kismet because, at the same time, Adrienne was in search of clients for her new literary agency. My first sale was a novella titled Double Act featured in Kimani Tru's anthology HALLWAY DIARIES, a book Adrienne packaged.

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.

Debbie: I work from home full-time, so every day presents another opportunity for me to improve my daily writing routine. Through trial and error (and much to my chagrin), I've found that I'm at my most productive when a deadline is looming. On a typical day, I'm sitting in front of my laptop by 10am. After I return/send out emails, and check out my favorite YA blogs and news sites, the real work begins. I force myself to sit there and write until 5pm, whether I'm writing blog posts, a story synopsis, outlines, query letters, or a few pages of a book I'm working on. On occasion, I have freelance editing assignments to complete or school visits and writing workshops to prepare for. But only when I'm on deadline do I seem to churn out an impressive amount of pages a day.

Please tell us about your latest novel Perfect Shot and what we can expect from your characters.

Debbie: PERFECT SHOT (Simon Pulse, 12/1/09) follows what happens after a 15-year-old volleyball player London Abrams is struck with a crush attack. There's no telling when a crush attack will strike and how wacky we'll react to it. In London's case, she impulsively signs up for a modeling contest just to come face-to-face with cutie Brent, the photography intern collecting contest applications. But when London gets a call back from contest judges instead of Brent, she finds herself in a fierce modeling competition and it's all documented on Brent's camera. PERFECT SHOT is the first of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies to feature an African-American main character, so that's also exciting. The setting is a fictional metropolitan town in New Jersey's stone's throw from New York City, and the multicultural cast of characters is a reflection of that.

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

Debbie: I'm working on another romantic comedy as well as a paranormal book. Fingers crossed, I'll be able to share more details about them after the holiday season.

Thank you for sharing with us, Debbie! Best of luck with your writing. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Debbie: Let it flow. Sometimes when it comes to writing, it's best not to over think things. No matter how unpolished or incomplete the idea, write it down anyway. The process of writing helps bring more ideas to the surface and may creatively steer you in an exciting new direction.

Debbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for magazines—namely, Seventeen, Twist and CosmoGIRL!. She’s interviewed celebs, politicians and other social figures, but enjoyed interviewing “real” girls the most. A total Jersey girl at heart, Debbie lives in Bermuda with her husband. Visit her website,