Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break: What are your plans?

Yes, it's Spring Break in my household! *cha-cha-cha-cha*

So what's inside my Spring Break week?

There is rushing around, but not having to get up so early. There is planning for fresh fun instead of so many obligations. There is watching movies and reading books! There is some running on the beach, feeling the sun, and yep, a little spring rain has come my way. There is coloring eggs and baking goodies. (Yum!) There is also catching up on the things I let pile up! *chuckle*

Hey YA Freshers, what are your plans for Spring Break? Leave a comment (hint, hint) because this weekend I think it'll be time for a (not so) RANDOMLY FRESH GIVEAWAY for frequent visitors of YA Fresh...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting the Rita Call!

I thought I’d "go wide" (as my agent would say) with my “Rita Call” story here at YA Fresh because it’s a little bit funny and probably a very true glimpse into my ridiculous mind...

So first, a little backstory: I was a 2009 Rita Finalist with my book, How to Hook a Hottie . I had heard that “The Calls” commenced at 8:00 a.m. pacific time, and so when mine came it at about 7:20, I was knocked off my feet in more ways than one. I hadn’t even had time to get neurotic!

Well, this year, just in case lightning struck twice, I knew I’d be ready early. But I didn’t mean that to start at 4 a.m., which is when my subconscious kicked in. I fell into this nightmare where I saw my name on the RWA website as a Young Adult finalist, but didn’t get a call. I tossed and turned for what seemed an eternity, frantically trying to find out where the mistake was...

At about 6 a.m., stressed, achy and bleary-eyed, I got up simply to put an end to that awful extended dream.

Time passed. People started posting their “good news” on the websites. More and more time passed. I did laundry, made the beds, scrubbed the kitchen floor (uh-huh, desperation time).

Until--OMG--the phone rang. I could barely breathe as I dove at it. Only to hear the voice of my dentist’s receptionist, confirming an appointment. Now, she’s actually a friend of mine and a wonderful person, but at that moment, hers was not the voice I wanted to hear.

I finished that conversation and headed back to the computer to check websites and see who else finaled. Clearly, not me.

When suddenly, the phone rang again. This was getting ridiculous. No one ever calls us at that hour. Crossing the room, I hear myself mutter, “Who is it now, the Sparkletts man?”

But lo and behold, it was the lovely Stephanie Feagan, telling me The ABC’s of Kissing Boys.was a 2010 Rita Finalist. I was so shocked that I had to write her name down on a piece of paper to prove to myself later (if I doubted my sanity) that yes, the call *really did happen.*


In hindsight, I have to say that wish I’d just chilled out and enjoyed the morning. But instead I’m looking at it as if I’m done with Rita stress now. Relaxation and merriment is my plan for the evening July 31st in Nashville, Tennessee, when the Rita/Golden Heart ceremony is held.

Kelly and I will be sure to talk more about it in the upcoming months and report back on it here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Special Congrats Announcement!

We interrupt our regular YA Fresh blogging with this SPECIAL announcement...

Our own Tina Ferraro is a RITA finalist for her young adult novel, THE ABC's of KISSING BOYS!!!! Yes, that makes Tina a two-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious award for How To Hook a Hottie and now ABC's.

Also, Tina has recently become a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence YA category.

Yes, Tina is on fire, YA Freshers! *sizzle, sizzle*

Huge Congrats, Tina Ferraro!!!!

Let's also send congrats to the other awesome YA RITA finalists for Best Young Adult Romance:

2010 RITA for Young Adult Romance
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Random House Group, Delacorte Press
ISBN: 978-0-385-738494

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Hyperion Books for Children
Editor: Jennifer Besser
ISBN: 978-1-423-11638-7

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Walker Books for Young Readers
Editor: Emily Easton
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9823-7

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, MTV Books
Editor: Jennifer Heddle
ISBN: 978-1-416-57173-5

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
Random House Group, Delacorte Press
Editor: Krista Marino
ISBN: 978-0-385-73582-7

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Editor: Anica Rissi
ISBN: 978-1-416-98264-7

*sigh* I just love RWA RITA time!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Some years ago, I went with a friend to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the UCLA campus, and had a marvelous time browsing the tables, chatting with authors, and listening to the speakers. My fondest memory was the YA panel which included many notable authors, including a new name to me, Jennifer Donnelly, who was talking about her book, A Northern Light. Her description of the story and what had drawn her to write it compelled me enough to buy the book...which I ended up falling into head-over-heels. In fact, it is the book I always respond to interviewers as my all-time favorite young adult novel.

Well, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is coming up again soon, with tons of exciting events, featuring everything from celebrity and author readings, book signings and Q&A’s, live music, comedy and children’s activities to cooking shows, culinary demonstrations and unique food and drink. The Festival will take place once again on the UCLA campus on the weekend of April 24th and 25th, 2010.

A highlight this year is the new Young Adult Stage, with appearances by YA favorites Meg Cabot (whose Airhead we’ve reviewed and even given away t-shirts for here at YA Fresh) and Kate DiCamillo (author of many remarkable novels such as Because of Winn-Dixie).

It sounds like great fun, and I hope to make it. But if I don’t--and you do--please come back and report!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Surprises

Our readers here at YA Fresh know that Kelly and I are cuckoo for pets! We feature them in our Caption It! giveaways and love to talk about our own.

Kelly has the cutest dog I’ve ever see, Cinnamon:

who is a toy poodle she got adopted from a breeder. And I have two adorable cats, Rascal and Ruby:

both of whom were born to outdoor strays, and have become happily domesticated...

Except, I am learning that while you can take the cat out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the cat.

Over these early months of Ruby’s life (she’s now 7 months), I’ve watched Rascal teach her the ropes of playing in the yard, where the boundaries are, how to climb trees and up into bushes, and that “the best part” of when the rains end: all the earthworms in the puddles.

Still, nothing prepared me for last week, when Spring Sprung in our California town, and soft, sweet, feminine 7 month old Ruby discovered...hunting! And bringing me...gifts!

--The first day it was a long, hard lizard’s tail. (No idea where the rest of it was/is.)
--The next day it was a small, yet very alive snake. (Which blessedly, I was able to stop at the door and then it slithered away from her.)
--The next day it was a live lizard. (Not a pretty story there, but luckily, my husband was home to clean up.)
--And as I type this, I am quite worried about why she's batting under the microwave oven stand. In fact, I have my feet tucked up under me just in case something comes dashing out.

I know this is the cycle of life, and I know it’s normal and that Rascal did this as a frisky kitty, too, but is it awful to admit I’m actually afraid of what’s coming in my house uninvited next?

Do any of our readers have similar experiences or pet-owner advice?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

YA Fresh is listed in Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens!

Have you heard of this cool journal called Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens: A Reading Journal for Young Adult Book Lovers by Rachelle Rogers Knight?

We have and we are totally jazzed to be listed within this awesome journal. Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens offers more than 2,400 award-winning and notable reading suggestions in many genres, cross-referenced to help parents and teens chose the right books for them. This unique journal sold out its first print run, attracting readers with recommended lists of fiction, manga, historical fiction, romance, westerns, crime novels, and poetry, as well as nonfiction sections focusing on biography and autobiographies.

Rachelle Rogers Knight also has a cool website called www.bibliobabe.com with news and events focusing on YA fiction, cool links for teens, and contests!

YA Fresh is honored (okay, Tina and I, are totally psyched) to be listed under the Young Adult Literature Blogs section in the Sourcebooks edition to be released April 1, 2010.

About Rachelle:

Rachelle Rogers Knight is a passionate reader who has enjoyed books her entire life. Rachelle self-published Read, Remember, Recommend and Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens in 2007, and earned the Bronze Medal for “Independent Publisher of the Year” from Independent Publisher Online Magazine in 2008. Sourcebooks, Inc. is releasing new and improved editions of the self-published hit this April. She recently re-launched her website www.bibiliobabe.com, an amazing blog and resource for book lovers.

So check out the journal and check out Rachelle's website too!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Playing the Silent Piano!

It's always a little unnerving to revisit a favorite place, book or film from your younger days because so often, our "more mature" eyes see them differently. Classrooms look smaller, amusement park rides seem slower, and often--well, at least for me--books and movies don't have the same sparkle.

But during a recent reviewing of an old classic (and old favorite of mine), The Trouble With Angels, my fears were almost immediately put to rest.

I saw that while yes, it had the occasional "groovy" earmark of its era and its share of predictable moments, more importantly, it was still very funny and endearing. Not to mention remarkably fast-paced for those days, when films generally went at a much slower clip. Finally, as an adult, I was able to better relate to the struggles of both the teachers and students, to see many more "gray areas" and root for their individual journeys as never before.

And funny...I had forgotten about "the silent piano," which Rachel (June Harding) tells Mary (Hayley Mills) that she studied in her previous school. Does anyone else remember what the silent piano was?

And let us know if you are a fan of The Trouble With Angels, too, or any films from your younger days that you've recently watched and enjoyed again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's Fresh with Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule

Another sweet and funny coming-of-age novel by the author of bloom; Perfect You; Something, Maybe; and Living Dead Girl.

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

Elizabeth: I didn't always want to be an author. In fact, I hated any sort of "creative writing" when I was younger, and didn't start writing fiction until I was 27. (!) The story of my first sale is a little crazy--I had queried an agent back in the spring of 2005 because my friends kept nagging me to try and get published--and the agent took me on! I hadn't seen that one coming at all, but the agent sent out my first novel, Bloom.

And then I went to an SCBWI conference in the summer of 2005 and signed up to have an editor critique the first ten pages of my second novel, Stealing Heaven.

Well, I go to the conference all ready to take notes on what needs to be fixed and the editor, who was from HarperCollins, tells me she likes the first ten pages and can she see the whole manuscript? I sort sat there for a second, stunned, and then blurted out, "YES!"

So my agent sent the editor Stealing Heaven and she ended up buying that along with my third novel, Love You Hate You Miss You.

Bloom, my first novel, sold to Simon Pulse a few months later.

Now this is where things get really weird. My first novel, Bloom, was published first, in 2007, but my second and third novels, Stealing Heaven and Love You Hate You Miss You, weren't published until 2008 and 2009, or three--and then four!--years after they were bought. And in the meantime, other novels that I'd written after those first three came out. One day I'll have to do a chart of my novels in the order they were published and in the order they were written!

I love hearing amazing sale stories! 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.

Elizabeth: I get up pretty early, usually around six, and answer email and read blogs and do what I call my "administrative" work--updating my website, writing a blog entry, etc.

Once that's done, I run errands and exercise. Then I eat lunch.

Then I write. I usually write for anywhere from 2-5 hours, but I try to stop by 5 PM, 6 at the latest and eat dinner and relax.

Please tell us about your latest novel The Unwritten Rule and what we can expect from your characters.

Elizabeth: The Unwritten Rule actually came about because my editor at Simon Pulse, Jennifer Klonsky, and I were talking about friendships and high school and the things you just instinctively knew you could never ever do then, like be interested in a friend's boyfriend and I said, "Yeah, it's like the unwritten rule," and bam! There was the story. It just popped into my head--all the characters, everything that was going to happen--and I love my editor for letting me take the idea and run with it!

The Unwritten Rule is actually out now (yay!), and it's about Sarah, who has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, super smart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

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

Elizabeth: My next book, Grace, will be out from Dutton in September. It's about a girl who's been raised to be a suicide bomber--and what happens when she decides she wants to live.

Elizabeth Scott is the author of Bloom, Perfect You, and Stealing Heaven. Visit her website: www.elizabethwrites.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Our Winner...

of this past weekend's Caption It! contest is...

YA Vampire Books

for her take on one of my favorite songs, Walking on Sunshine, which happened to fit so perfectly with our photo!

YA Vampire Books, please contact me at admin@tinaferraro.com and we'll chat about which of my books you'd like me to send!

Thanks to all who entered! Such fun!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Caption It! Contest

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I really enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, especially the ski and snowboarding spots that sent the athletes flying through the air.

I noticed the announcers kept using the term "getting big air" in praise of the jumps, and for some ridiculous reason, this picture would return to my head:

So I thought I'd post it today in another of our Caption It! contests!
With my caption being: "Tandem Four-Legging Jumping: Going for the Gold!"

Now it's your turn. Anything that strikes you. You have until Sunday at 6 pm PST to post your own captions. No limit--go crazy!
The winner will NOT be chosen randomly (as we usually do here at YA Fresh) but by a small committee of, well, Ferraros! And that winner can choose to receive a signed copy of any one of my three books, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, How to Hook a Hottie or The ABC's of Kissing Boys.

Have fun with it!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

TFC Anniversary--Join the Celebration!!

Teen Fiction Cafe is celebrating a three-year anniversary of blogging!! The authors are coming together for 13 days and sharing a look back to where we were when TFC banded together--and, of course-- there are goodies to win!

It's the TFC Three-Year Blog Anniversary Party! Every day through March 13th we'll be posting about the last three years, giving away prizes (winners announced here March 15), and celebrating in style.

Sounds good to me! Please drop in and leave a comment to win some cool giveaways and help Teen Fiction Cafe celebrate!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Year of the Horse Winner!!

Many thanks to those of you who left a comment for a chance to win Justin Allen's adventurous novel YEAR OF THE HORSE!

And the lucky winner is...


Yay, Bee! Please email me through my website with your mailing address for your book.

Thank you and Happy reading!