Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's Fresh with Eileen Cook's The Education of Hailey Kendrick

Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.

Suddenly, Hailey's perfect life--and her reputation--are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don't trust her. Her boyfriend won't even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she's been dumped.

They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

Hello Eileen, great to have you back with us! Please tell us what inspired you to write The Education of Hailey Kendrick.

Eileen: The inspiration came in part from coming across a copy of The Scarlett Letter. I’m very interested in how the process of what everyone thinks of us shapes how we view ourselves. If your identity was suddenly taken away- how would you respond?

As a writer, what made you take that step to try for publication?

Eileen: I took a writing course and my instructor encouraged me to send my writing out. When I told her I was worried that I might be rejected she told me “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you are already not published. The worst thing that is going to happen to you is that you still won’t be published.” That’s when I decided to stop letting my fears be more important than what I really wanted.

That is one wise writing instructor! So, Eileen, what is your writing process like?

Eileen: I desperately want to be one of those writers who have a schedule and routine, alas, I am not. Rather than having a typical day I set weekly word count goals, and leave myself the flexibility to have shorter or longer writing days depending on where I am in the story, how well the words are coming on a particular day, and what else may be competing for my attention. I do try to write a bit each day in order to stay connected to the story.

Unlike some writers who feel tortured by their muse and find the creative process painful- I love writing. If I don’t have a project on the go I feel out of sorts and as if something is missing. When I sit down and let the story take my complete attention is my favorite part of any day. I’ll write in my office, at the beach, at the library-anyplace I drag a notebook or my laptop.

Could you share a random favorite quote?

Eileen: I’m a total quote junkie too! I can think of zillions of favorites, but my current is “Well behaved women rarely make history.” Eleanor Roosevelt. It reminds me that playing it safe all the time doesn’t get you very far.

Thank you again for sharing with us, Eileen. Best of luck with all your future projects. Would you like to close with what you are working on now?

Eileen: I have a middle grade series coming out for young readers (ages 8-10) in the Spring called The Fourth Grade Fairy. I’m also hard at work on my new YA novel. I’m working on a gothic story with the working title of Haunting Isobel. It has a creepy old house, a family mystery, a brooding handsome man and a possible ghost. It’s been a tremendous amount of fun to write so far.

Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. When she was unable to find any job postings for world famous author, she went to Michigan State University and became a counselor so she could at least afford her book buying habit. But real people have real problems, so she returned to writing because she liked having the ability to control the ending. Which is much harder with humans.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

From Kelly & Tina @ YA Fresh!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Recommendation: The Clearing!

Every now and then Kelly and I like to chat up books that have particularly touched us, and I'm doing just that today by reporting on
The Clearing
by Heather Davis.

Heather and I are friends, and I had been meaning to read this book for a while, but you know the saying, "So many books, so little time." This week, with most of my holiday shopping behind me, I finally got the chance to crack it open. And what happened was that I found it almost impossible to put down.

Here's the blurb:

In this bittersweet romance, two teens living decades apart form a bond that will change their lives forever.

Amy is drawn to the misty, mysterious clearing behind her Aunt Mae's place because it looks like the perfect place to hide from life. A place to block out the pain of her last relationship, to avoid the kids in her new town, to stop dwelling on what her future holds after high school. Then, she meets a boy lurking in the mist--Henry. Henry is different from any other guy Amy has ever known. And after several meetings in the clearing, she's starting to fall for him.

But Amy is stunned when she finds out just how different Henry really is. Because on his side of the clearing, it's still 1944. By some miracle, Henry and his family are stuck in the past, staving off the tragedy that will strike them in the future. Amy's crossing over to Henry's side brings him more happiness than he's ever known--but her presence also threatens to destroy his safe existence.

The Clearing was totally engrossing for me, engaging my inner romantic as well as my reader's yearning for a fresh, interesting storyline. Add to this some lovely descriptive passages that absolutely made me feel that I was in the clearing with Amy and Henry, and no surprise that it's on the short-list for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.

So for those of you still looking for holiday gifts, or are soon to receive holiday gift cards, I suggest you keep this heart-felt page turner in mind!

And be sure to check back for an interview with Heather Davis early next year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the contest to win a copy of Heather Terrell's FALLEN ANGEL! And our winner is...


So Sydney, please contact me at, I'll get that book winging its way to you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fallen Angel Giveaway!

We welcome Heather Terrell to YA FRESH today, to talk about her new Harper Collins series, Fallen Angel!

Hi, Heather, could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I was actually practicing as a lawyer in New York City when I had the idea for my first novel, a historical suspense story called The Chrysalis. It took me almost ten years to write that book, but when I finally finished it, I showed it to an agent. She took me on as a client, and after more editing, I was fortunate enough to enter into my first contract with Random House. After writing two more historical suspense novels, I decided to try my hand at young adult books. My new series with Harper Collins entitled Fallen Angel -- is the result of that venture.

Great! 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.

On a day that I’ve dedicated to writing, I get my family situated and then pour myself a huge cup of coffee. Afterwards, I head upstairs to my office, put on the music I’ve selected for writing that particular novel, and begin. I start by re-reading the chapter I finished the day before, consult my outline, and commence typing!

Please tell us about your novel, Fallen Angel, and what we can expect from your characters.

Fallen Angel is the story of two otherworldly teens, Ellie Faneuil and Michael Chase. They are determined to uncover what they are vampire, angel, or something altogether different -- and how they got this way . . . together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

At its core, Fallen Angel is a supernatural tale about true love, destiny, and the battle of good versus evil.

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

The sequel to Fallen Angel will release in early summer of 2011. That novel is called Eternity.

Eternity tells Ellie’s tale as she comes to grips with her destiny as the Elect One, a fate that makes her relationship with Michael tense. Yet Ellie doesn’t have the luxury of time to work things out with Michael, because they are called to stand against the group of fallen angels who are bent on destroying the world. In order to face the evil heading her way, Ellie tries to put her personal life aside. But she soon learns that whoever holds her heart also holds the key to mankind's salvation or destruction. As the end days approach, Ellie is faced with an epic decision. Who does her heart really belong to? And is her love strong enough to save the world?

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

I have learned so many helpful writing tips from fellow author friends. The one that has proven the most useful, however, is also the simplest. Pick a time each day to write and stick to it whether or not you feel like writing. The words will follow.

Thanks, Heather!

* * * * *

Thanks so much! And now for our readers, the giveaway! We will be choosing one random commenter to receive a copy of Fallen Angel. Simply leave a us a comment telling us why it should be you!

Check back on Monday to learn the winner!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Baking (and eating) of Holiday Cookies!

Okay, so I’m no Martha Stewart when it comes to baking. BUT I still have the urge for some holiday cookies! Yummers!

So what do I think of when it comes to holiday cookies…?

Is it these…

Or these…


All good, yes, but when I bake Christmas cookies I have the most fun with Sugar cookies!!

When I was little my aunt would always make sugar cookies with frosting on top in reindeer and in santa shapes. But not only that they were so thin and light that they seemed to melt on your tongue. *sigh*

And with my mom, we'd always make our sugar cookie dough into fun shapes like candy canes and holly wreaths:

So this year with my kiddos I plan on making a big mess and continuing the cookie baking tradition!

How about you? Any favorite holiday cookies for you this holiday season?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Teen TV Show Giveaway Winner... Erin!

Erin, please contact me at and let me know which book you'd like: Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro, or Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick!

Thanks to all who entered, and keep checking back...the giveaways just keep on coming!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Let's Talk Teen TV Shows (Giveaway!)

I was watching GLEE the other night (yes, I am a Gleek) and thinking back on various TV shows featuring high school and teens I’ve seen over the years. I thought it would be fun to mention some "oldies but goodies" here for those of us who have down-time over the holidays and feel like going back...

Gidget (1960’s)

A one-season wonder featuring life on the beach (and around town) starring Sally Field!

Welcome Back, Kotter (1970’s)

A former student becomes a teacher at the inner city school he'd been so happy to once leave. And check out John Travolta in one of his earliest roles.

Square Pegs (1980’s)

About misfits in high school. I recall the tag line being “One size does NOT fit all.” And notice a very young “Sex and the City” Sarah Jessica Parker.

Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990’s)

Tagline (thank you, Netflix): A Kansas family relocates to Beverly Hills, where their two children adapt to the infamous social drama of West Beverly Hills High.

So now it’s your turn, and I purposely left the door wide open! Tell us some other TV shows that featured teens in high school that you think others might enjoy tuning into it. One winner will be randomly chosen and can pick between a signed copy of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro, and a signed copy of Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick!

Giveaway ends--and winner announced--on Monday, December 13th!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Amazon Gift Card Winner

Thanks to all who entered this past weekend's contest and told us a book they are planning to purchase or hope to receive!

And our winner, chosen by my random number generator, is...


So, Lucia, please contact me at, and I'll get you the $10.00 gift certificate!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Holiday Shopping Giveaway!

Kelly and I have long been proponents of books as holiday gifts for friends and family of all ages, which not only helps support the publishing industry, but enriches minds and sometimes draws in new readers.

Last year, some of you may remember, my 2009 release, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, made’s “Great Gifts for Teens” List.

Well, this year we are excited to report that Kelly’s 2007 release, Graffiti Girl, has been earmarked by for a
bargain price just in time for the holidays of only $3.98.

In celebration of the season, and hoping that you will consider books for your gifts, too, we will be giving one commenter a $10.00 gift card. All you have to do to be entered is tell us a book that you’re either planning to purchase as a gift or hope you receive!

Best wishes to all who enter...and check back on Monday, December 9th to see the winner!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's Fresh with Caridad Ferrer's When The Stars Go Blue

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

Hello YA Fresher's, we have our friend Caridad Ferrer chatting with us today! Caridad is not new to YA Fresh, we've chatted with her before, and she's back chatting about her brand new release When the Stars Go please give her a big YA Fresh welcome!

Hello Caridad, it's so great to have you back with us! 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 update us on your typical writing day schedule.

Caridad: A typical day for me is coffee, email, and walking the dogs. Then more coffee and looking over the previous day's work to sort of get into the groove. This is also why I actually try to leave off in the middle of a scene rather than at the end-- it somehow makes it easier to get back into the world and mood. I put on the appropriate soundtrack and get to work. If I'm stuck, I'll pause and do some research or get up and walk around a bit. Sometimes, I'll just try to bull my way through. One thing I always do, however, is work linearly. I find it nearly impossible to jump around in a manuscript and write scenes out of order.

Somewhere in there, I do attend to my family-- driving my kids to and from school and doing the typical errands (although laundry is almost always sacrificed!).

Please tell us about your latest novel When the Stars Go Blue and what we can expect from your characters.

Caridad: WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE (November 23rd from St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books) is a contemporary reinterpretation of Bizet's CARMEN but set against the backdrop of competitive drum and bugle corps. Despite how specialized that might sound, it really is a universal story with a love triangle and lots of passion and intensity and desire and misunderstandings and betrayals. Because the main characters are all artists of some sort, the drama and emotions are ramped up another order of magnitude.

Thank you for stopping by, Caridad! We wish you the best with this latest release. What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Caridad: Nothing that's contracted, but I have just completed work on an adult manuscript that's set in the 1960s and deals with a young woman's emotional journey after her family escapes from Castro's Cuba and I've just begun work on a young adult manuscript with which I'm challenging myself, writing in third person POV for the first time in ages and employing paranormal elements, which I've never done before.

Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”

She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.” Visit her website,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We are Thankful For...

Tina and I are thankful for our wonderful YA Fresh Friends who visit us every week! Happy Thanksgiving to our US friends and we will be chatting with you all very soon. :)

~Kelly & Tina

Monday, November 22, 2010

Midnight Movie Madness

I have been hearing about people going to the midnight debut showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows last week, and how much fun they had.

Making me realize I've never been to one of those fan-tastic midnight movie events, and considering I tend to wake and fall asleep early, it is possible that I never will.

So I thought I'd turn to our YA Fresh readers for the deets. Have you ever been to a midnight theater premiere of a long-anticipated movie? If so, which one, and how did you like it? And if not, do you plan to give one a try?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kidlit Critterpalooza!

For over a year now, Critter, the creation of artist Ian Sands and the brainchild of children's book writer, Christy Evers, has been traveling the world, meeting many talented writers and authors and exploring where they live. At each stop he learns more and more about KIDLIT and the importance of literacy and creativity.

Remember when he went on a college adventure with me? Here he is--in my hand--in front the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Sports Center:

Critter has been to rock concerts, national landmarks, a palace, college, attended his first SCBWI conference, walked among giant redwoods, and met the world famous artist, Robert Bateman. Now that his journey is coming to a close, it’s his hope that you will help him celebrate over at The Bookshelf Muse. His new hosts, together with old hosts, have teamed up to create the Kidlit-inspired event, Critterpalooza! and you’re invited!

There are many prizes to be won--including a signed set of my own books--all in the spirit of helping Critter celebrate creativity within our KIDLIT community, and to raise awareness for his charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

I hope you will check it out and give that little cutie your support!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome to Christy Raedeke

I met debut YA author Christy Raedeke a couple years back through a fellow writer on Facebook, in a Scrabble game. She's a very strong player, I must say, and now that her first book, Prophecy of Days-Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire, is on book shelves, I can attest that she's a very strong writer, too!

Hey, Christy, so glad to have you here.

Thanks so much for inviting me to YA Fresh. I loved meeting you at a Facebook Scrabble game--the power of the internet to connect word lovers everywhere cannot be underestimated!

Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

After majoring in journalism in college, I worked in high-tech Marketing and PR, but always loved fiction and continued to take classes at night and on weekends. I was kind of focused on the short story and didn’t think I had a book in me—-little did I know the book inside me would be so big I’d have to break it in two and sell it as a series!

I met agent Laura Rennert at the Big Sur Writer’s Workshop that the Andrea Brown Literary Agency puts on every year (best workshop out there, in my opinion!). Laura was one of my “faculty” and I was workshopping the book that would become Prophecy of Days. I left with great direction on how to tweak the book, so I went home and worked on it for a few weeks and then sent it back to her. She signed me and then the real revision started!

Andrew Karre was at Flux at the time, and it was he who acquired the book. I was elated. After several years, my dream had come true--I was going to be published! As soon as it hit me that people might actually read the book, the terror set in…

Yep, know that terror well! Now, 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.

Sadly, “typical schedule” could never be used to describe my writing time. When I was writing
Book I of Prophecy of Days, I was home with young children and I would write while they napped or were at preschool. Last year when my youngest entered elementary, I went back to work in the world (and oh, how I missed my writing cave!). I still had a lot to do on Book II after I started work, so I’d write at night and on weekends. It’s most helpful for me to go away for a weekend and do a huge number of pages—I prefer to really get in the groove and crank stuff out. If I have to I’ll do an hour here and an hour there, but mostly I write when I know I have at least 2-3 hours in front of me.

Please tell us about your novel, Prophecy of Days-Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire, and what we can expect from your characters.

Hmmmm. Well, I suck at the mini-synopsis, but here goes. It’s a story about modern technology and ancient mysteries, about adventure and travel and discovery. There’s a girl, her friend, a boy, and a mysteries monkey who communicates through origami. Add in some Mayan astronomy and people with evil motives and intrigue and mayhem ensue… (Here is where I rely heavily on the ellipsis to imply that there is so much more! Which there is! I promise!)

Sheesh, can you believe I’m in marketing? It’s like how the cobbler’s children have no shoes—the marketer sucks at packaging her own books!

Haha, well, I think it sounded great! So what's up next? Do you have another project in the works?

I do have a new project! It’s so fun to be in the courtship phase where every idea my new novel has seems just charming and full of possibility. We have not yet had our first argument and I have not discovered that he actually does watch Sports Center every night despite saying that he’s all about the foreign film. It’s blissful. Can you tell I’m only on page 28? The book is contemporary YA with a male protagonist, so it’s really different from the Prophecy of Days books.

I also have another finished manuscript that’s sort of marinating. When I feel stalled with my new love I will go back to that for a cold read. It is the manuscript that An Na chose to win the Holmes Fellowship for YA Literature from Oregon Literary Arts, so it feels very special to me—though I know it needs tons of work

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

My favorite writing tip came from author Teri Hall (The Line). When I was just losing so much time on “research” (aka legitimate Google searches for the book that somehow ended up as Scrabble games or Facebook stalking) she suggested the 40/20 thing. Turn off all distractions, get some tea or coffee, set a timer for 40 minutes, and write straight through. Use the following 20 minutes to do whatever Google/Facebook/Tweetish thing you need to do and then go at it again. It’s amazing how much you can get done!

Also: write the book you want to read. You have to read the damn thing so many times that if it’s not something you love you might go insane.

That is all the wisdom I have! It’s been fun to be on your blog, thanks for the interview!

Thanks--and a great tip for me, too, to keep some control over my hours of Scrabble!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Starbucks Holidays, Fa la la la la, la la la la

The holidays are fast approaching! In California there is a crispness to the air. Store sales are already booming. And of course…

Starbucks has their holiday drinks available!

What holiday drinks you might ask??

Well, when October came around so did Pumpkin Spice Latte, with a new friend called Toffee Mocha.

And now what’s here this November?

Peppermint Mocha Twist

Espresso Truffle

And Gingersnap Latte!

Okay, if those don’t make you think toasty holiday evenings by the fireplace at home, I don’t know what does. Haha!

I have to admit my favorite Starbucks drink is White Chocolate Mocha, and Pumpkin Spice is nice. I have yet to try these other tasty sounding drinks but I just might!

Any Starbucks drinkers out there? What’s your favorite treat drink?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Our Lovely Winner

This weekend we had a fun giveaway of numbers 3 and 4 in Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY series. I used my random number generator, which landed on...

Jolene Allcock and Family!

So Joelene, if you'll kindly e-mail me at, we'll get those books in the mail to you.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and check back in with us regularly because we luuuuuv doing giveaways!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Wicked Lovely Book Giveaway!

I hope we have a bunch of Melissa Marr fans out there--Wicked Lovely, anyone?--because Kelly and I have something pretty special to offer up this weekend: hardcover copies of books #3 and #4 in the Wicked Lovely series, Fragile Eternity and Radiant Shadows.

And all you have to do to be entered to win them both is tell us something you consider “lovely." Like...I might say that it’s lovely how the leaves are turning on the trees...or the cheesy crust on the lasagna coming out of the oven is definitely lovely.

So if you’re looking to read (or re-read) hardcover copies of Fragile Eternity and Radiant Shadows, leave us a comment. The winner will be announced on Monday!

Monday, November 01, 2010

And the winners are...

It turns out we now have TWO copies of JUST ADD MAGIC to give away, so I am pleased to announce



ROSIE 2002

both as winners. Janie and Rosie, please e-mail me at with your contact information so I can get that winging along to you!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, October 29, 2010


For our YA Fresh Halloween celebration, we welcome debut author Cindy Callaghan to chat with us about her writer's life and her debut middle grade novel, Just Add Magic.

Hello, Cindy! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I've been writing forever. In third grade I wrote my first play. I was always into short stories, scenes and characters. Of course, lots of melodramatic poetry. Then, I put creative writing aside for college, grad school, early career days of clawing my way to the glass ceiling, and starting a family. About six years ago I saw an ad for a writing class. That catapulted me into my first novel, a fabulous suspense thriller for adults. The class became a critique group and one novel became another and another, and finally to JUST ADD MAGIC.

Great! 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 prefer big chunks of time to write. So, I try to block a whole day, sometimes two. I go away over night sometimes. It is very hard for me to find a quiet place, so getting away to our mountain house alone or with a few writing friends works very well. The coffee shop is a good place for me to edit on paper. Also, I like to work early in the morning. If my creative juices are really flowing, like with a first draft, I can get up really early and write for hours. It feels like minutes.

Please tell us about your novel, Just Add Magic, and what we can expect from your characters.

When Kelly Quinn and her two BFFs discover a dusty old cookbook while cleaning out her attic, the girls decide to try a few of the mysterious recipes inside. But the ancient book bears an eerie warning, and it doesn't take long for the girls to realize that their dishes are linked to strange occurrences. The Keep 'Em Quiet Cobbler actually silences Kelly's pesky little brother and the Hexberry Tart brings an annoying curse to mean girl Charlotte Barney. And there is the Love Bug Juice, which seems to have quite the effect on those cute Rusamano boys...

Could these recipes really be magical? Who wrote them and where did they come from. And most importantly, what kind of trouble are the girls stirring up for themselves? Things are about to get just a little too hot in Kelly Quinn's kitchen.

Sounds terrific, Cindy. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

I'll borrow from the great philosopher, Nike.....Just Do It!

I love it! Okay--now YA Freshers, it's your turn to weigh in. To be entered to win a copy of Cindy's book, and keeping the Halloween holiday and yummy food in mind, merely leave us a comment telling us your favorite Halloween treat! Whether it's trick-or-treat candy, a cup of witch's brew punch over dry ice or maybe orange and black popcorn balls...whatever you like!

And be sure to check back on Monday to learn the winner.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's Fresh with Denise Jaden's Losing Faith

A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Hello Denise, it's great to have you here! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how
you made your first sale including the title and publisher?

Denise: My first published novel is called Losing Faith and it was just released from Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster in September. I've been writing for about seven years, and have several other novels in various stages of revision. I met my editor at a writers conference shortly after finishing Losing Faith and she was interested! After getting an agent, we sent my book on submission to the editor from the conference and she loved it. The rest is history!

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.

Denise: I write at least six days per week, usually for about an hour to an hour and a half per day. I'd love to write more, but at this point life doesn't allow. I homeschool my son in the mornings, then hit the gym. When we get
home, it's time for a quiet time for my son and a writing time for his mom.

Please tell us about your novel, Losing Faith, and what we can expect from your characters.

Denise: Losing Faith is the story of sixteen year old Brie, the black sheep of her religious family until her older sister Faith dies. Through the bizarre and devastating grieving process, Brie discovers that certain facts about Faith's final night just don't line up.

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

Denise: I'm working on another YA novel called Appetite For Beauty. It's about a cheeky and forthright girl who discovers a dangerous, self-destructive side in her sister, and has to decide between helping her sister and a powerful and unfamiliar desire to become appealing to a mysterious boy.

Thank you for sharing with us, Denise! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Denise: Write every day. It helps stimulate the creative juices and for me, I often start dreaming about my characters and stories when they're a regular part of my day.

Denise Jaden lives just outside Vancouver, Canada. When she’s not writing, she can often be found homeschooling her son or dancing with her Polynesian dance troupe. Losing Faith is her first novel. Find out more at

Monday, October 25, 2010


Thanks to all who entered our contest for a signed copy of Lauren Strasnick's HER AND ME AND YOU. And the winner (chosen by my random number generator) is:


So, Latishajean, if you'd kindly contact me at, I'll get that book winging its way to you!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The HER AND ME AND YOU Giveaway!

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago, we talked to author Lauren Strasnick about her latest book, HER AND ME AND YOU.

Prior to that, I got hang out with Lauren at the Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando, where we were both Rita finalists for Best Young Adult Romance. Here’s a photo of four of the finalists, (left to right): Lauren, Simone Elkeles (who won!), me and Ally Carter, at the afternoon reception.

A happy occasion, as you can see!

Lauren was nice enough to offer up a signed, hardcover copy of this newest release for a YA Fresh giveaway. Entering is easy-peasy: just leave a comment telling us you'd like to win the book. The winner will be chosen by my handy-dandy random number generator and announced next Monday morning.

Good luck!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Aloha From Hawaii

My husband and I are on Maui, celebrating our wedding anniversary! I thought it would be fun to post a picture here at YA Fresh, and had originally planned to put up something tropical...

But because life is always full of surprises, there was something completely unexpected on this trip that I realized I wanted to share. You see, one of my favorite things about traveling is checking out the covers on the books that the people around me are reading--in the airport, on planes, around the pool. But I have been vastly disappointed on this trip because it seems like 50% of people are reading on e-readers. Which means I can't snoop!

Now, don't get me wrong, I am all in favor of e-readers! Kelly and I both own one, and all of our books available in electronic format. I just wish people would put large print post-its on the back of them, letting us all know what they are reading. Because--gah--getting a pulse on what people are reading is part of my vacation fun!

So along these lines, I left my Kindle in the hotel room and brought the paperback I am reading on today's adventure, up to almost 10,000 feet to see the remains of the Haleakala Crater.

As you can see, I am holding an advanced reader copy of REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly (whose previous YA novel, A NORTHERN LIGHT, remains one of my all-time favorite books). Which is what I am currently reading. No secrets with me!

If you are so inclined to share with us what you are reading, shout it out! And I'll "see" you back home later this week!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trance is here!

Look out paranormal fans, here comes a new story from Death by series author, Linda Gerber!

Almost everyone has wished that they could take a glimpse into the future—but what if such visions came unbidden, and they only foretold danger? Linda Gerber weaves this idea into a chilling and satisfying young adult novel with TRANCE (Speak; 9780142414156; October 14, 2010; Ages 12 up; $7.99). Perfect for fans of Wake, Gerber’s latest paranormal thriller is a dark but addictive tale of one girl’s curse to unwillingly foresee future tragedies, and the debilitating toll that it takes on her present life—until she realizes that her unwanted power may be more of a gift than a curse.

Ashlyn Greenfield has always known when bad things are going to happen. Each time that familiar tingling at the back of her neck begins, she knows what’s to come—a trance. She’s pulled in, blindsided, an unwilling witness to a horrible upcoming event. But she’s never been able to stop the event from actually occurring—not even when the vision was of her mother’s fatal car accident. When soulful Jake enters Ashlyn’s life, she begins having trances about another car accident. And as her trances escalate, one thing becomes clear: it’s up to her to save Jake from a near-certain death.

Combining romance and suspense, Linda Gerber delivers a paranormal thriller that is unique in its ability to appeal to sci-fi and chick lit fans alike.

Sounds like my kind of book! In stores now and ready for fresh reading!

Linda Gerber ( is the author of the popular Death by Bikini, Death by Latte, and Death by Denim as well as two books in the S.A.S.S. series. She lives with her family in Dublin, Ohio.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Apple of My Eye!

This fall, I have been noticing how many people I know, on the east coast as well as the west, have been going apple picking. And reporting that there’s absolutely no better taste than a first bit into a fresh-of-the-tree apple.

I have never gone myself, but it’s definitely on my to-do list. What I have enjoyed is the bounty of my friends’ apple picking adventures. I’ve found my kitchen filled with bags of the sweet smelling fruit. And the question then was: what to do with all the apples?

I have a rather odd response to that, a recipe I saw in a magazine many years ago that is definitely a hit at the Ferraro house. I have tweaked it a little, and share it here with you:

Apple Sundaes

Sliced red apples (with skin)
Caramel sauce
Chopped nuts
Whipped cream.

Not only is this a “healthy” alternative to an ice cream sundae, but you can use non-dairy topping to make this lactose-free. And of course, leave the nuts off for those who are allergic.

Have you gone apple picking? And what are some ways that you or your family like to serve up apples?

Friday, October 08, 2010

What's Fresh with Lauren Strasnick's HER AND ME AND YOU

First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred–and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred–and something about Adina–that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world, no matter the consequences.

Hello, Lauren, thanks for sharing with YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Lauren: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I thought for a while I wanted to write movies and television, so I moved to LA and worked in TV for several years. After some serious burnout and disillusionment, I went back to school and got my MFA in writing. I spent the year following graduation subbing my thesis, a YA novel, to agents. After a ton of rejection, I scrapped that book and started another, sending the completed MS to a few agents who had been encouraging the previous year. I signed with ABLA soon after that, and we sold my book, NOTHING LIKE YOU, to Simon Pulse/S&S a couple of months later.

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: I try try try to be all clean and fed by 10-ish, then I generally write until 6-ish, taking breaks throughout the day to answer emails, take care of promotional stuff, cook and eat things, pet the cat, and peruse style blogs.

Please tell us about your novel, HER AND ME AND YOU and what we can expect from your characters.

Lauren: HER AND ME AND YOU (out October 5th from Simon Pulse/S&S!) is about Alex, a girl who moves to a new town after her parent’s split. There she meets twins, Fred & Adina Bishop. They hang out incessantly. One twin behaves badly! Messiness ensues.

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

Lauren: I’m working on another book for Simon Pulse, DAKOTA WEBB IS MISSING. Mystery! Obsession! Rock & Roll! Should be out Spring 2012.

Sounds great! Thank you again, Lauren, for sharing. I wish you the best with your writing. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Lauren: Read everything. No better way to learn.

Lauren Strasnick grew up in Connecticut, now lives in Los Angeles, and is a graduate of Emerson College and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) MFA Writing Program. NOTHING LIKE YOU is her first book. Visit her website,

Monday, October 04, 2010

Swati Avasthi's Charity Auction!

Swati Avasthi, author of Split, who has visited with us here at YA Fresh, is running a month-long charity auction in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Over 40 authors, agents and editors have donated manuscript critiques, personalized books and more to an online auction that anyone--reader, writer, booklover--can bid on and buy, with all proceeds go to the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

In addition to the auction, Avasthi is donating $1/comment on her 26-stop, month-long blog tour, coordinated by Kari Olson at Teen Book Scene. If she reaches her goal and cap of $250, Swati will double the donation to the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Click here to follow her blog tour:

Blog Tour.

Among the donations, you’ll find a signed set of my books, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, How to Hook a Hottie, and The ABC’s of Kissing Boys. Be sure to check all the items out for this very worthy cause!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

top 10 most frequently challenged books in 2009

Do you want to know more about Banned Books? ALA (American Library Association) has information on how books are banned, how to research banned books, and how to report a book that is being challenged all right here. You can also find free downloads on yearly banned books.

Here are the top 10 most frequently books challenged in 2009:

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Books Week

That's right, YA Freshers, the last week of September is the time to celebrate Banned Books Week! Every year, literature is challenged in one form or another. Some are shouted from the hill tops and others not detected at all. So now is your week to celebrate your freedom to read!

Find out more about it at the Random House website by clicking here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

September Randomly Fresh Winner!

Thank you all again for commenting each month! Our Random Giveaways are just our way of saying thanks for visiting YA Fresh!!

So the winner for September's Randomly Fresh Giveaway is...

brendajean winning The Ruby Notebook!!

Congrats! Please send me your mailing info at KellyParra AT Earthlink DOT net.

Thanks Everyone, have a great week!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Totally Randomly Fresh September!

It's that time again...

Totally Randomly Fresh Giveaway!!!!

The rules?

You must have commented on YA Fresh during the month of September 2010. (Yes, I will check. I'm a stinker like that ;))

Here are your choice of books . . .

So, just leave a comment with the book you'd like to read if you were a YA Fresher for September . Thanks and good luck!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chatting with Marley Gibson

Two weeks ago we talked about the book launch of Ghost Huntress: The Counseling by Marley Gibson, and how it is the fourth installment in the acclaimed Ghost Huntress series.

Today, Marley has graciously agreed to chat with us, to tell us about that book and other things going on in her busy life...

Hey, Marley! Thanks for being with us. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I've been writing as long as I can remember. Don't all writers use that as their answer? LOL! It's seriously true, though. I remember writing short stories in crayon as a little kid and then "auctioning" them off to my family. Recently, my sister said to me, "I never understood why we had to pay you for your stories." I guess I was preparing myself for the world of publishing. I wrote all through high school, even penned a teenage romance then, and wrote all through college. In 2001, I decided to finally quit TALKING about writing a book and just do it. I had a really bad agent (sorry) for two and a half years and then I found my really awesome agent who totally understood me, my characters, my voice, etc. Within six months of signing with her, I had my first deal which was starting off the SORORITY 101 series. The publisher came to my agent asking if they had a writer with sorority experience and my agent knew my background and abilities well enough that she pitched me. I did the first two books in the series under the name Kate Harmon. A year later, she sold my GHOST HUNTRESS series.

Great! 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'll admit that I don't write every day. However, I *think* about writing every day. I'm constantly plotting and planning and creating characters and dialogue in my head. I really have to let a story stew for a while -- sorry, it's the foodie in me making the analogy -- to make sure all of the ingredients are there before I can start putting words to paper. When I am writing, or what I call "the blood fever," then I will sit with the headphones on cranking out House/Trance/Dance music and totally escape into my world I'm creating. I type wicked fast (like 100 wpm) so I can get out about 1,500 words in an hour. I just try to dump everything out the best I can and then I go back and re-read and polish, add things, strengthen, tighten, etc. I've gotten to the point where I'm a first draft writer -- but that was after years of practice and many completed manuscripts that went through several adaptations before completion. Everyone's different, but this is what works for me.

I’m a crazy-fast typist, too, although the days of me hitting 100 wpm are probably behind me! Anyway, please tell us now about your novel, GHOST HUNTRESS: THE COUNSELING, and what we can expect from your characters.

Well, GHOST HUNTRESS: THE COUNSELING picks up after book three, THE REASON, where Kendall finds out who her spirit guide, Emily, really is. In an attempt to help Kendall find herself and her identity, her parents send her to an Enlightened Youth Retreat in the Sierras in California. There she meets a new cast of characters who are "gifted" just like she is. There, they work with counselors to discuss their feelings, senses, abilities, etc., and realize that they're not alone in this awakening world. Of course, Kendall meets an adorable, yet troubled guy, Patrick Lynn, who is struggling with not only his own awakening, but his connection with Kendall. Together, they team up to help the trapped spirit of a young woman who was murdered. All of the teens join together to solve this cold case...just as Kendall is accepting who she really is.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works?

Well....I do have stuff in the works. My agent has a few proposals out there and I'm just waiting to hear. I love writing, creating characters and situations, and I love entertaining people. My fans have been great and really get into the GHOST HUNTRESS books. I hope people will keep writing and letting me know what they think. I love that this is my "full-time" job and that I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. And that's write!

Thanks! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

The best writing tip I can if you want to be a writer then just DO IT. So many people ask me how to get published and what did I do and what can they do and all I can really say is...write. Write. Write. Oh yeah, and write. You can't get published if you haven't written anything. Having a great idea for a book is awesome, but if you don't flesh it out into a tangible product, then it doesn't matter. Write it. Even if it's horrible. Write it. Get it out of you and onto the computer. Just. Do. It.

Yep, I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for visiting with us, Marley!

Thanks for having me!! = )

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Forgive My Fins Winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest to win a signed copy of Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs! I loved all the responses--that Mrs. Ferraro is one busy lady!--but my random number generator chose:


as our winner! So MannaB, if you would contact me at, I'll get that book in the mail to you!

And everyone, please keep checking back in with us because we have LOTS of contests and giveaways!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Forgive My Fins Giveaway

Please welcome fellow young adult author and friend, Tera Lynn Childs, to YA Fresh! She has been nice enough to chat with us about her career and newest book--and to offer up a signed, hardcover copy of that release, Forgive My Fins, to one commenter. So let's get started!

Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

My first sale came after writing seriously for about three years. When I sold Oh. My. Gods. it was my fourth complete manuscript and, after tons of agent rejections on my previous projects and then a bunch of editor rejections on this one, we finally found the right editor at the right house at the right time. I was in Florida, driving to a movie, when my agent called. "You're driving?" she gasped. "Don't be driving!"

Too funny! Now, 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.

My writing schedule varies pretty widely, depending on how far away my deadline is. But, assuming it's getting close and I'm being more productive than usual, it goes something like this: Get up, splash face, get dressed, grab bag o' writing goodies. Bag contains Alphasmart, project notebook, and a collection of pens, pencils, post-its, markers, and highlighters. I head to the nearest friendly coffee shop, get a weather-appropriate beverage, and scout out a comfy chair. I write with the beverage at my side, the alphasmart on my lap, and the earbuds blasting my latest playlist. I'll write or revise for anywhere from two to six hours, until my brain melts.

Please tell us about your novel, Forgive My Fins, and what we can expect from your characters.

Forgive My Fins is the story of Lily Sanderson, a half-mermaid princess who goes to high school on the mainland. After discovering her mother was human, she comes onto land to live with her aunt and find out more about the human world. She finds herself seriously crushing on the school's swim star, Brody, but her every effort to tell him how she feels gets thwarted by her biker boy neighbor, Quince. There's a case of mistaken identity, a magical kiss, a trip to an underwater kingdom, and lots of splashy good fun.

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

Oh yes! First up will be the sequel to Forgive My Fins, called Fins Are Forever. That will be out next summer (June 28) and will pick up right where the first book leaves off. Then, starting next fall, I have a new trilogy about triplet descendants of Medusa who discover it's their destiny to guard the door between the world of monsters and that of man. It's kind of Charmed meets Buffy meets mythology.

Sounds wonderful. Now, would you like to close with a writing tip?

Besides reading lots and writing lots, the single best thing an aspiring writer can do is finish the book. I know all about BADD (Book Attention Deficit Disorder) and the lure of shiny new ideas that seem so much better than the crappy one in progress. But finishing that book is critical for three reasons: 1) to prove to yourself that you can, 2) to realize that it's not so crappy after all, and 3) to have the chance to revise it and learn how to make your writing better on the first try next time.

I couldn't agree more...and thanks, Tera, for chatting with us!

Now, before I explain about the contest, a fun aspect of this book for me is that there is a character named (a-hem) Mrs. Ferraro. And this is no coincidence. Tera named her Mrs. Ferraro as a gift to me. So although there IS a right answer to the following question, let’s forget that for now and just have fun guessing.

Who is Mrs. Ferraro in Forgive My Fins? A crazy cat lady? A lovely mermaid? A dentist?

Make something up!

The winner will be chosen at random from those comments and announced on Monday! Good luck!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A New Contemp Group in Blog Town!

Have you heard of the new cool new blog--The Contemps??

Twenty-one authors have banded together to put real life in the spotlight and to keep readers up-to-date on the latest in contemporary young adult fiction.

Very fresh!!!

Here's a little about them:

“The Contemps” officially launched on August 17 with a mission to help teens, booksellers, librarians and publishers connect with books that feature real-life settings, characters and situations. The group ranges from debuts to veterans with several titles on the shelves, and all have new releases coming out between September 2010 and August 2011. They hope to not just build buzz for members’ books, but to create excitement and appreciation for the contemporary realistic genre in general.

That means that The Contemps’ corner of the web ( will be a little more self-disclosey than others. A number of activities are planned, including sharing from the authors’ own teenage years, giveaways, spotlighting other contemporary realistic authors, and multi-author events. You might find a few naughty words thrown in (right next to the shiny clean ones). There may be stories about hanging out, making out, parents, best friends, sexuality, homework, high school bloopers, teachers, bullies, racism, parties, and pop culture. Look for some odd and lively mash-ups!

The members are: Brent Crawford, Hannah Harrington, April Henry, Kirsten Hubbard, Denise Jaden, Kody Keplinger, Jo Knowles, Lindsey Leavitt, Sarah Darer Littman, Michael Northrop, Sarah Ockler, Micol Ostow, Lisa Schroeder, Elizabeth Scott, Mindi Scott, Emily Wing Smith, Courtney Summers, Kristen Tracy, Melissa Walker, Sara Bennett Wealer, and Daisy Whitney.

Sounds like an awesome group! Check out these YA Contemps today!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Fresh with Lucienne Diver's ReVamped!

The fanged fabulousity of Vamped, FLUX's fastest-selling new release, is back!

Gina's Rules for Surviving Super Spy Club Training:
1. First, the dirt and sweat are just too horrible to contemplate.
2. Unless you enjoy cold showers, be the first one to the bathroom in the morning.
3. Cargo pants make you look hip-py.
4. Making out on missions, unless it's part of your cover, is totally grounds for extra push-ups.
5. When going goth, you've totally got to strike words like totally, awesome, and phat from your vocabulary.
6. Who's actually running the Super Spy Club, you ask? I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

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

Lucienne: My very first sale was a short story called “The Problem with Piskies.” It was published in the final issue of the webzine Quantum Barbarian, and I think posted for all of two weeks before the site came down. I’ve since made it available for free here. I wonder how it holds up…hmm, come to think of it, I should probably have read it over before offering up the link. Anyway, the boys in Piskies, Vic and Bob, have a sequel, “Imaginary Fiend” in the Strip-Mauled anthology edited by Esther Friesner, only there I use my own name. I started under a pseudonym, because I didn’t want the fact that I’m also a literary agent to influence anyone’s thinking about my work, either editors or readers. I also didn’t want any of my authors concerned that my focus was elsewhere. I truly love my authors, as they can probably attest! Don’t want to worry them.

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.

Lucienne: I wake up at 6 a.m., grab coffee (usually iced), a pen and a notebook, kick my husband out of bed and write for an hour. Then, I may go back to sleep for a bit before I wake up again, shower and start my day. Generally I’ll type in what I wrote on my lunch “hour” (quotes because I hardly ever take it) or in the evening, editing as I go. This goes for weekends as well, though I let myself sleep in then. Once I approach those awe-inspiring words “The End” the writing’s going fast and furious, and I’m all but consumed. Then I might write in the evenings as well as the mornings, putting out four to six pages a day as opposed to my regular two. However, this rush often means way more revision required in this section.

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

Lucienne: Thanks for asking! The new novel is ReVamped and is out this month from Flux Books. I’m really excited about it, although it seems so odd to take credit for the book when my main character—diva that she is—already claims responsibility. She’s even started her own blog to keep attention focused right where it should be—on her:

To sum up her series:

In Vamped, Gina and her minions defeated a vampire vixen, a psycho-psychic and the vampire council of Mozulla, Ohio. Gina was all ready to expose vampires to the world in all their fanged fabulosity…until the Feds arrived to sweep everything under the rug and make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

In ReVamped, Gina and her boyfriend Bobby are sent undercover to infiltrate a New York high school where some seriously weird stuff is going down. Worse than that, Gina’s new super-secret identity is as goth-girl Geneva Belfry. No color palette to speak of. More chains than a bike rack. And don't even get her started on the shoes. At least she won’t be too worried about blood spatter when kicking the butt of her newest nemesis, who’s decided that the high school makes a perfect playground.

Flux has already contracted me for her next two adventures as well.

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

Lucienne: I do, but I don’t, which is to say that I haven’t decided which of the ideas calling to me I’m going to play around with before I have to get serious and work on the fourth *Vamped* book. (The third, *Fangtastic*, has already been turned in.) The choice is between a fun middle grade involving magic and myths in modern day or a dark, suspenseful young adult without a whiff of the paranormal. Decisions, decisions…. Anyone want to help me out here by chiming in?

Thanks for sharing with us, Lucienne, and best of luck with your series!! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Lucienne: It all sounds very zen, but if you quiet your mind, you can hear your characters speaking through you and your own voice doesn’t get in the way. I think that’s why I write at 6 a.m. My inner editor is still asleep, my inner agent still needs at least another cup of coffee to be coherent, and the only folks truly stirring are my characters, always waiting in the wings
for their chance to be heard.

Lucienne Diver is a writer by night and a literary agent by day. Visit her website,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

What's Fresh with Kristina Springer's My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours

Seventh grade was supposed to be fun, but Tori is having major drama with her BFF, Sienna. Sienna changed a lot over the summer—on the first day of school she’s tan, confident, and full of stories about her new dreamy boyfriend. Tori knows that she’s totally making this guy up. So Tori invents her own fake boyfriend, who is better than Sienna’s in every way. Things are going great—unless you count the whole lying-to-your-best-friend thing—until everyone insists Tori and Sienna bring their boyfriends to the back-to-school dance.

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

Kristina: I have a Masters in Writing from Depaul University and I was a technical writer and also taught technical writing at DePaul. I started writing young adult fiction about five years ago. The Espressologist was the second book I ever wrote (first sold) and a few weeks after getting an agent the book went to auction and I got a two-book deal with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

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.

Kristina: I don’t have a set schedule. I write whenever and however I can squeeze time in. I have four kids 7 and under so this is usually a couple of hours at night here and there.

Please tell us about your latest novel My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours and what we can expect from your characters.

Kristina: My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours

Friendship can be hard sometimes, but so far in seventh grade, Tori Barnes’s BFF, Sienna Baker, is making life downright impossible. Forced into making up a boyfriend to rival Sienna’s, Tori is soon entangled in a whole mess of lies, and she knows that only the truth can fix things.

Available August 31, 2010 from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

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

Kristina: My fall 2011 book is tentatively titled Pumpkin Princess. It's about a 17-year-old girl named Jamie Edwards who has loved growing up on her family’s pumpkin patch in Average, IL, and has always dreamed of one day being the town’s Pumpkin Princess at the annual Pumpkin Festival. Her rich and famous cousin, Milan Woods, comes to town and turns Jamie's world upside down though. Jamie knows she has to expose Milan for who she really is and teach her that life’s not all pumpkins and apple butter at the patch.

Best of luck, Kristina! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Kristina: Keep at it—don’t let the rejections deter you.

Kristina Springer is the author of THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS and the forthcoming PUMPKIN PRINCESS (fall 2011). She has a Masters in Writing from DePaul University and she resides outside of Chicago with her husband and children. Visit her at

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ghost Huntress: The Counseling

The fourth installment of Marley Gibson's popular GHOST HUNTRESS series,
THE COUNSELING, has hit bookstores! It finds heroine, Kendall Moorehead at a crossroads. Kendall has just discovered who her spirit guide really is, lost her boyfriend, and nearly died doing the thing she loves most–ghost hunting. It’s time to take a break and try to reconcile all the changes she’s going through. So Kendall heads to the Sierra Mountains, where there’s a camp especially for young people with gifts such as hers. It’s a time for reflection and self-discovery. But when she gets to California, she once again finds restless spirits–and the boy in her last vision. It may be the end of one chapter of her life and the beginning of a new one...

A lifelong paranormal enthusiast, Marley has investigated haunts throughout the USA, including Rolling Hills Sanitarium, Waverly Hills Sanatorium, The Sprague Mansion, The Houghton Mansion, The Stanley Hotel, and the Queen Mary, alongside well-known paranormal celebrities like Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Patrick Burns, Chris Fleming, John Zaffis, Shannon Sylvia, Chip Coffey, Stacey Jones, Mark and Debby Constantino, Tiffany Johnson.

Her publishing credits include “Ghost Huntress: The Awakening,” “Ghost Huntress: The Guidance,” and “Ghost Huntress: The Reason.” The next titles in the series “Ghost Huntress: The Counseling” and “Ghost Huntress: The Discovery” will be released in September of 2010 and May 2011 respectively. She has also co-authored a teen ghost hunting how-to guide entitled “The Other Side: A Teen’s Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal” with Patrick Burns and Dave Schrader, and is also the co-author of the wildly successful “Christmas Miracles,” written with Cecil Murphey, from St. Martin’s Press.

And all that said, Marley is a super-fun person to spend time with. And if you need cooking advice (as I often do), she's your go-to gal! Congrats to Marley on this new release, and we hope to have her visit for an interview soon!

Gift Card Winners!

We had a lot of fun discussing great summer reads, and thanks to all the authors who participated--as well as the readers who joined us and commented.

As promised, I used my "random number generator" to pick two winners, each to receive a ten dollar e-certificate to And those two winners are:




Ladies, if you will please e-mail me at, we'll take the next steps to get you those gift certificates.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Author Round-Up/Giveaway!

As summer is winding to a close, I thought it would be fun to ask some of our YA Fresh author friends (who have joined us here recently) to tell us about a book they’ve recently read and loved.

So here we go, in no particular order:

Kelly Parra: "This summer I revisited one of my favorites...This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. It's no secret I love a tough-girl story with a unique boy who softens her up. Add this one to your reading--or REreading--list for an awesome summer read!"

Kay Cassidy: “Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is amazing. The heroine is so relatable, and the things she faces made me question everything from survival strategies in our technology-dependent world to what family really means. I went around for weeks afterward worrying that we didn't have enough supplies in our pantry. It's that kind of extraordinary read."

Wendy Toliver: “One book I really enjoyed reading this summer was Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. It's a thrilling and unpredictable story of forbidden love between a teenaged girl and a fallen angel. I enjoyed it so much I wrote her a fan email and found out she lives where I used to live. So when I was driving through there this summer she was kind enough to meet up with me and we had a marvelous time together."

Inara Scott: “I would like to recommend Flash Burnout by LK Madigan. Why I liked it? A completely real male protagonist that I adored; a bit of mystery; and absolutely phenomenal writing.”

Jessica Brody: “The Espressologist by Kristina Springer. Although I love a good vampire or ‘the world is ending’ book as much as the next person, sometimes you're in the mood for something light and uplifting, rather than dark and suspenseful. Especially on a warm summer day by the pool! This book totally did the trick for me! It was one of the most adorable books I've ever read, about a barista who plays matchmaker based on people's coffee drinks! Short and sweet and left me smiling. :)"

Amy Goldman Koss: "I LOVE the character Billy Bloom in Freak Show by James St. James. The plot is only so-so, and the conclusion doesn't ring true, but the main character Billy (a teen drag-queen) is BRILLIANTLY written. He's TOUCHING and BRAVE and STUPID and UNIQUE and FUNNY and REAL and WONDERFUL. To read him is to love him."

Stephanie Hale: "My favorite book this summer was The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. I could NOT put this book down, yet I never wanted it to end. The main character Violet can sense the echoes of people who were murdered and can also pick up imprints on their killer. It was so suspenseful! It also had a very sweet love story to balance out the morbidness of Violet's hidden ability."

Swati Avasthi: “Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. In addition to the strong voices and interesting story, I thought the emphasis on friendship and how that sees you through high school was a seldom-discussed theme, especially for lit for guys. And I thought that the way that each Will Grayson saw Tiny Dancer was fabulous; what a great way to round a character.”

Holly Cupala: "It's been such a terrific year for YA, it's impossible to choose just one…but I really enjoyed Holly Schindler's debut novel, A Blue So Dark. Holly’s voice is as sharp as an ice pick, her observations astute and often very, very funny. It’s a moving portrait of a girl letting go of her past and discovering her gifts."

Tera Lynn Childs: “Firelight by Sophie Jordan! It's a breathtaking, ill-fated romance between a girl descended from dragons and the boy whose family hunts her kind. There are all the elements that make it a keeper for me: desperate romance, heart-pounding action, danger, sacrifice, and a beautifully-developed world that will leave you wondering whether there might be a draki living next door."

Tina Ferraro: “I had to force myself to put down A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass--so that it wouldn’t end. I was drawn in from its truly original prologue as the main character uses colored chalk to solve a math problem to its beautiful conclusion that had me tearing up. I passed it along to two teens, one with an interest in psychology, the other math, and both were equally amazed, proving to me the wide range of this novel. Wonderful.”

Okay, so starting NOW, please leave a comment about one of these books and why you'd like to read it, and be entered to win a $10.00 Amazon electronic gift certificate. (All of these recommended books are selling new on, with most well under $10.00.) I’ll randomly pick two winners! Check back on Monday to see the winners!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fun With Gena Showalter!

Gena Showalter’s YA series, Intertwined, featuring paranormal magnet Aden Stone, continues this September with UNRAVELED. To celebrate her new release, Gena and her author BFFs are hosting a 4-day scavenger hunt on their blogs; including this one!

Three grand prize winners will each win a $100 Visa gift card, plus Gena’s giving away signed copies of UNRAVELED to five lucky runner-ups! All you have to do is find all eight letters, unscramble them and email the word to Contests(AT) Easy peasy.

Today, The Knight Agency Blog and YA Fresh have their letters front and center. To get the skinny on where the other letters are hiding in the great internet universe, click here for a contest road map and rules.

So, are you wondering what UNRAVELED is all about? Read on to learn more about Aden:

For once, sixteen-year-old Aden Stone has everything he’s ever wanted:

A home.


The girl of his dreams.

Too bad he’s going to die... Since coming to Crossroads, Oklahoma, former outcast Aden Stone has been living the good life. Never mind that one of his best friends is a werewolf, his girlfriend is a vampire princess who hungers for his blood, and he’s supposed to be crowned Vampire King – while still a human! Well, kind of.

With four – oops, three now — human souls living inside his head, Aden has always been “different” himself. These souls can time travel, raise the dead, possess another’s mind, and, his least favorite these days, tell the future.

The forecast for Aden? A knife through the heart.

Because a war is brewing between the creatures of the dark, and Aden is somehow at the center of it all. But he isn’t about to lie down and accept his destiny without a fight. Not when his new friends have his back, not when Victoria has risked her own future to be with him, and not when he has a reason to live for the first time in his life.

Participating UNRAVELED hunt blogs include superstar authors Rachel Caine, PC Cast, Marley Gibson, Linda Gerber and Rosemary Clement-Moore. This contest runs from Monday, August 30th to Thursday, September 2nd. All entries must be received by Monday, September 6th at midnight ET. Happy Hunting!