Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 Top Children's Book Blog Award Winner!!

Yeah-huh, oh yeah...

YA Fresh is in the 2010 Top Children's Book Blog Award House! LOL!

PhD Online

Recently, YAF was notified that we were voted as a Top 2010 Children's Blog Award. We do not affiliate with the sponsor in anyway, but we of course, want to give a big thank you to Awarding The Web for the award and nomination.

So thank you again and yahoo for YA Fresh!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In my Mailbox

Now Tina is off to Orlando for the Romance Writers of America conference--where she is up for a RITA for Best YA Romance for The ABC's of Kissing Boys!! Good luck, Tina!!

So I've been crazy with a recent move, haven't had a lot of time for reading. However, I received a juicy paranormal read in my mailbox that has sparked my interest!

Check it out--

Mary expected her seventeenth birthday to be a blowout to remember, courtesy of her best friends, fellow New York City prepsters Amy and Joon, and her doting boyfriend, Trick.

Instead, the day starts badly and gets worse. After waking up in a mortifying place with a massive, unexplainable hangover, Mary soon discovers that nobody at school is even aware that it's her birthday. As evening approaches, paranoia sets in. Mary just can't shake the feeling that someone is out to get her—and, as it turns out, she's right. Before the night is over, she's been killed in cold blood.

But murder is just the beginning of Mary's ordeal. Her soul gets trapped in a strange limbo, and she must relive the day of her death through the eyes of seven people—each of whom, she finds, had plenty of reasons to hate her. As Mary explores the mysteries of her world, discovering secrets that were hidden in plain sight while she was alive, she clings desperately to the hope that she can solve her own murder, change the past, and—just maybe—save her own life.

With its blend of suspense, horror, fantasy, and realism, 7 Souls is an adrenaline rush of a thriller.

Sounds pretty intense! This is a co-authored book by Barnabas Mille and Jordan Orlando. Looking forward to diving into this one!

Barnabas Miller haswritten many books for children and young adults. He also composes and produces music for film and network television. He lives in New York City with his wife, Heidi; their cat, Ted; and their dog, Zooey.

Jordan Orlando sold his first novel before his twenty-first birthday. Besides writing, he creates Web sites and works in graphic design and digital cinema. He lives in New York City. You can visit him at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Welcome Erin McCahan!

Last winter, when we were talking about books we were excited to read, I mentioned putting I Now Pronounce You Someone Else on your summer reading list!

I’m happy to say the book is now out, and getting great reviews, and I got Erin to sit down with us for a little chat!

Hello, Erin! Could you tell us a bit about your writing background and how you made your first sale.

My writing background includes Don Johnson, a movie option and a con artist who spent time in jail for a scam many people refer to as one of the biggest literary scams ever. This would be my first “agent,” who was bilking us naïve writers out of millions of dollars – a few hundred at a time. I was 21 when I gave her $300, but I got a ton of embarrassment in the exchange, so...that was fun. Her crimes are detailed in the book Ten Percent of Nothing: The Case of the Literary Agent From Hell by former FBI agent Jim Fisher.

Fast forward eight or nine years. I wrote a mainstream women’s fiction novel, found a legitimate agent I’m still in touch with – hi, Eric – and had many small successes with that manuscript that never got published. A movie producer got behind it, optioned it and sent it to a bunch of other production companies. Don Johnson’s was one of them, and I’ll never forget this.

The producer called me one day to report that there were no takers. He said, “Don Johnson said, ‘I’m on page 181 and nothing has happened yet.’” So Don Johnson hated my novel. I still love him as Sonny Crockett, though.

And my first sale was huge in every way but remuneration. I sold an article to a local magazine that was more ads than text and was overwhelmed that I was getting paid to write. Oh, the article was Fun Summer Activities For Children. I didn’t have kids, still don’t, but that wasn’t the point. I got paid to write. It was fabulous.

I think it's cool Don Johnson even considered your work! Now, please tell us about your novel, I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE, and what we can expect from your characters.

Quick synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has long hoped she was switched at birth, which is the only way to explain her utter lack of connection with her family, who aren’t unkind – just wholly different from her. When she starts dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she falls in love with him and his family, thinking she has found that sense of belonging she’s always wanted. But things move too quickly, and suddenly she finds herself engaged and wondering what has happened to her life. If she gives up Jared, she loses the family she always wanted. But if she stays with Jared, she might lose herself.

Here is a line from one of my favorite reviews: McCahan’s characters are so real they’re ready to jump off the page. (RT Book Reviews, June, 2010) I started shaking when I read that. It was just so incredible to me. So, yes, my characters are believable. No one’s wholly good or wholly bad. They’re a mix of emotions and motives like people are. They’re quirky, funny, sarcastic, irritating (that’s the word lots of reviewers use to describe the mom, which is good, because she’s supposed to be). They’re up. They’re down. They’re confused. They make mistakes, and they correct them. Some of them, that is. Not every problem gets resolved, because, again, that’s what happens in families very often

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

Yes, I’m actually waiting to hear back from my editor about the latest submission, which has no title at the moment. We’re just calling it JOSIE. Sixteen-year-old Josie Sheridan falls in love with a guy who falls in love with her older sister who is engaged to a man Josie hates. Now, Josie must decide between doing what feels right for herself and doing what feels right for her sister, while coming to terms with the fact that feelings, no matter how real and strong they are, very often lead people down the wrong path.

Sounds great! Care to close with a writing tip?

Yes! If Don Johnson doesn’t like your manuscript, don’t despair. It does not mean you’ll never have anything published.

LOL. That may be one of my favorite writing tips here--ever. Thanks, Erin!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June

I had heard wonderful things about Robin Benway’s debut novel, Audrey, Wait! and managed to find enough sit-down time last winter to read it. I found it not only laugh out loud funny, but it really captured the tone and feel of teen life today. Plus, the story rarely went where it seemed to be headed, so I rated it high on the “Surprise!” meter.

I made a note to check out a copy of her next book, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June which I see is now available for pre-order.

Here’s the cover and the blurb:

I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond. Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Interesting that this one has a paranormal edge, huh? All the more reason to hit your local bookstore come August 3rd!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Made in the Shades!

For the first twenty or so years of my life, I would have nothing to do with sunglasses. I thought they distorted my 20/20 vision and made me see the world in unnatural colors. Then I got together with my husband-to-be, and he talked UV rays and protecting my vision and all kinds of things with which I could not argue. I caved and bought my first pair.

All these years later, I am a total addict. I can't take out the trash without a pair of shades on. I even carry a back-up pair in my purse at all times...just in case!

So what's funny to me is while all my professional author photos show me sans glasses, our family vacation albums are quite the contrary. Here's one random one I found from the Roman Colliseum:

How about you? Now that we're in the dog days of summer, are sunglasses among your most trusted possessions, too?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Everything Old is New Again?

As a creator of imaginary characters, I think a lot about names, and what is popular and why. And it seems to me that the "new" names I am hearing for 2010 babies tend to be old-fashioned ones. Which I think is terrific, because as the old song goes, "Everything old is new again..."

So I thought I'd throw this out to our YA Fresh friends. Do you know any babies who have been born (or are about to be born) this year? Are you aware of any name trends in your area? And want to share some of their first and middle names? Fun to think and talk about...and you never know, some may show up in my future books!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Thanks to all who entered last weekend's contest for a copy of Swati Avasthi's debut novel, SPLIT! The winner is...


If the winner would please contact Tina at with your information, we will get the book in the mail to you!

And for the rest of you, keep checking in here at YA Fresh for our many other contests!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Split Giveaway!

Last week I posted my thoughts on Swati Avasthi's debut novel, Split (FANTASTIC!), and this week, I'm excited to offer up an interview with the author, and announce a giveaway of one copy of the book!

Hi, Swati, and welcome to YA Fresh. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

I started writing when I was five, but took a few detours before returning to it quietly when I was 29. A few years later (when I was still 29), I began taking classes at the Loft and Hamline University. A year later, (just months away from my 30th birthday), I started to call myself an aspiring writer when I received the Loft Mentor Series Award. During the year in the mentor series, I decided to get an MFA, which I did from 2007-2010. (Just graduated!)

Getting an agent and the sale was like riding a water slide -- fast, fun, and exhilarating. Finding an agent took about 8 weeks and the sale was even quicker. Rosemary Stimola, my agent and fairy godmother, took the manuscript to auction three weeks after signing me on as a client and got me a 2 book deal. I was so surprised by the email telling me that several houses were interested in offering me a 2 book contract that I actually had to diagram the sentence to believe it.

Haha! And loved all the years you spent at the age of 29! 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 best days are when I can sit at a Starbucks for at least 3 hours in the morning with my coffee and my earbuds in, listening to a playlist designed for the book (See my website for playlists). But that routine varies a good deal based on the needs of my 2 kids and the demands of my job, teaching. So, I'm now trying to make sure I n) revise 5 pages per day, whether at midnight or 9 AM.

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

SPLIT begins when 16 year-old Jace Witherspoon drives from Chicago to Albuquerque on the night that he finally hits his father back. He hasn't seen or heard from his brother, Christian, in five years, but Jace shows up on Christian's doorstep, hoping for a brotherly reunion, maybe even someone to confide his secret to. SPLIT is about surviving relationships within a family and outside of family after you've gotten out. Escape is one thing. Rebuilding your life is something else.

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

I am almost done with my second draft of BIDDEN. Corey, Holly, and Savitri are looking forward to their summer before college, indulging in free-running and comic book reading when a shooting changes everything. BIDDEN is about how far we will stretch for our friends and whether the bonds we build can withstand the after-effects of violence.

It's been a really fun project because it is a hybrid novel -- part prose, part graphic novel. So I'm learning all about graphic novels, panels, layouts. Just a blast.

Sounds so interesting--and powerful. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Here's my favorite writing tip: Writing is no place for timidity. Write boldly, write bravely, write every day you can.

Thanks, Swati!

And now for those of our readers who would like to entered to win a copy of SPLIT, please leave a comment telling us why! The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Monday. Best of luck!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Clueless: Teens in Love

Some fun news to start off the week:

New York Times bestselling author/Fordham University literature teacher Eloisa James wrote a column for the Barnes and Noble blog today about the six novels that are finalists for this year's Romance Writers of America Rita(R) award for Best Teen Romance!

Included in that column is mention of my book, The ABC's of Kissing Boys, of which she said she could not stop reading!

Be sure to check the column out!

And for those of you who don't have an internal clock running toward the Rita/Golden Heart event...we're at 26 days and counting...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Summer T-Shirt Contest!

Author Jenny O'Connell is celebrating the summer with an Island T-shirt contest in honor of her novels, Local Girls and Rich Boys!

Just click over to Jenny's blog @ and finish this sentence...

Summer is awesome because _______.

Then follow the directions and you'll be entered in the contest. Contest ends July 7th. Sounds fun and good luck!