Friday, April 30, 2010

Will u go 2 prom w/ me?

A couple of years ago, we did a post here at YA Fresh on cute invites to prom, which included stories about M&Ms, banners, flowers and a staged “pop quiz.” Since then I have heard about a computer program that ran on a girl’s in-class computer, the word PROM? written on a someone's mirror, and a sign posted in outside a girl's window. All very cute and, I am sure, special to those involved.

But now I’m hearing about a brand new trend, the idea of asking someone to the prom via texting. In fact, statistics state that 64% of high schoolers said they would accept a prom offer via text.

I am not sure I’m totally behind this for it would seem that the more effort and creativity that a person put out in the asking, the more heartfelt the offer would seem. Plus, how nice to see that smile when your future date says, “YES!”

However, I thought I would offer up a few tips for anyone who is so inclined:

Don’t send a blast text to multiple potential dates!

If you don’t hear back within 24 hours after you’ve sent the text, pick up the phone and call.

Get creative with your cell phone camera ; maybe text a picture of yourself holding a sign saying “Will you go to prom with me?”

So now it’s your turn. Tell us how you’d feel about a getting a “prom ask” through a text. Or if you have received or know of any super cute asks!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's Fresh with Jessica Brody's The Karma Club!

Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. Do good things and you'll be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what you deserve. But when Maddy’s boyfriend cheats on her, nothing bad comes his way. That’s why Maddy starts the Karma Club, to clean up the messes that the universe has left behind. Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. It turns out Karma often has plans of its own.

Hello Jessica, thank you so much for chatting with us at YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Jessica: From age 5, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Then somewhere along the way, I decided that I needed to pursue something more prudent and responsible…something that came with dental insurance. So I majored in Economics and went into strategic analysis (aka lots and lots of spreadsheets!). Well, it didn’t take long for my 5 year old self to start nagging loud enough, “This isn’t what you want to do!” And I eventually quit, sold my first novel and now I write full time. Moral of the story: People should choose their careers at age 5. Although then we run the risk of having far too many astronauts and princesses running around.

It took me about four years to sell my first novel. I started out shopping a manuscript called JUST JULIET. I tried to get that book published for about two years but it never happened. Everyone kept telling me the same thing: the writing is good but there isn’t enough story. So when I set out to write my next book, the one that would eventually become THE FIDELITY FILES, I made sure, first and foremost, there was a STORY! After two years of writing and rewriting that (and about 200 rejections!) I finally landed my first agent and she sold it in 10 days to St. Martin’s Press. So I like to say my overnight success story took four years. ☺

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.

Jessica: I can only write for about 2-3 hours a day. For one, I get antsy and can’t still for much longer than that and I always seem to have so many other things to do. I’m a full time writer, but you’d be amazed at how much other work besides writing piles up. When you work for yourself you also end up being your own tech person, graphic designer, accountant, publicist, assistant, photocopier, filer, and online marketing specialist!

So in the morning, I usually go to my favorite writing café and write for a few hours until I fulfill my daily word quota (which is normally 1000 words a day), then I come back to my home office and take care of everything else that needs to be done.

Please tell us about your latest novel THE KARMA CLUB and what we can expect from your characters.

Jessica: THE KARMA CLUB is about three teen girls who decide that they’re tired of waiting for Karma to “get off its butt and do its job,” so they vow to take Karma into their own hands by getting revenge on those who have wronged them. But they soon discover, when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back!

It releases on April 27 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The three main characters are all very different yet all fun in their own ways. I hope readers can relate to at least one of them!

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

Jessica: I’m working on a new YA book that will be out in 2012 called 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER about a teen heiress who is forced by her ever-absent mogul father to take on a different low-wage job every week for a year if she wants any hope of getting her trust fund. I’m SO excited about it! Plus, I just finished the copyedits on another book that will be out in 2011 called MY LIFE UNDECIDED. And I’m also working on a new YA series that I can’t quite talk about yet. But it’s gonna be SOOOO cool!

Thank you again, Jessica! Wishing you much success! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Jessica: I’ll steal a writing tip from Nora Roberts because it’s my favorite. “You can’t fix a blank page.” I have this hanging on my wall above my computer so I can always see it. It’s absolutely the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Sometimes you’ll get stuck, sometimes you’ll write crap, but no matter what you just have to keep going. Keep writing. Even if you end up throwing it all away at the end. Because more often than not, you have to write through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff. And you can always go back and revise later. But you can’t revise something that’s not there!

To celebrate the release of The Karma Club on April 27, Jessica is giving away FOUR Flip Video Cameras (as well as TONS of other cool prizes!) on her site. Visit her website, for all the details and to enter to win!

Jessica would also like for you to check out her cool book trailer!

Jessica Brody is the author of two books for adults. The Karma Club is her first book for teens. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California where she is working on her next novel. Despite what some people from her high school might claim, she has never sought revenge on an ex-boyfriend. Visit her online at:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Overtone CD Winner

Thanks to all who entered our contest to win Overtone's Frequency CD!

The winner is...


Brenda, please contact me at with your contact information and we'll get the CD winging its way to you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

OVERTONE Giveaway!

So the other night I was in a club in Hollywood...wait, that sounds like an opening to a joke, huh? Me, Tina Ferraro, in a club in Hollywood? I’m the lady who lives in front of a computer in cat-hair covered sweatpants.

But no, really, I was all dressed up and in a club in Hollywood, because members of my family were congregating to hear the terrific a cappella band from South Africa, Overtone.

If the band’s name is familiar to you, it’s probably because they did the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood’s movie, Invictus. Maybe you even saw them perform on Ellen?

In any case, they were great fun to see in concert, super-talented, and really got the crowd going--clapping, singing, dancing. All seven of them are between the ages of 20 and 25, and bring some real powerful energy to the stage. And I must name-drop to say that the audience members included Clint Eastwood himself, as was Invictus’s star, Morgan Freeman!

I understand that Overtone is about to embark on an American tour, and while I don’t have that schedule, thought it would be fun to do an Overtone CD giveaway.

All you have to do is leave a comment telling us your favorite
Clint Eastwood movie. (For teens who aren’t familiar with his films, or those who need refreshers, click on his name for a link to his movie data base.)

Good luck! The winner will be announced here on Monday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's Fresh with Kay Cassidy's The Cinderella Society!

What a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?

Sixteen year old Jess Parker has always been an outsider. So when she receives an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret society of the most popular girls in school, it's like something out of a fairy tale. Swept up by the Cindys' magical world of makeovers, and catching the eye of her Prince Charming, Jess feels like she's finally found her chance to fit in.

Then the Wickeds--led by Jess's arch-enemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers there's more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself on the outside. She has unknowingly become part of a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and now the Cindys in charge need Jess for a mission that could change everything.

Overwhelmed, Jess wonders if The Cinderella Society made a mistake in choosing her. Is it a coincidence her new boyfriend doesn't want to be seen with her in public? And is this glamorous, secret life even what she wants, or will she risk her own happy ending to live up to the expectations of her new sisters?

Hello Kay! Congrats on your debut! 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?

Kay: I'd been writing adult fiction for several years but never seemed to find my fit there. A friend suggested that my voice would be a great fit for YA, but I hadn't read YA since I was a teen! So I went to my local library. The teen librarian suggested three books: The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and How My Private, Personal Journal Become a Bestseller. I took them home, devoured them, and knew that this was what I wanted to write.

The Call came the day after an editor I had always hoped to work with passed on the book. She had been championing the book for two months in-house but it was finally passed over during acquisitions. I was so disappointed and, since that left only two houses who had it, I was certain it was never going to sell. If she couldn't buy it after trying to for two months, what were the odds anyone would be able to? The very next morning, I got The Call from one of the two remaining houses. Three days later, the last remaining house offered as well. It was completely mind-boggling to me (in the most wonderful way)! :-)

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.

Kay: With my debut last week, it's been non-stop marketing for what seems like forever! But now that the most hectic part is behind me, I'm ready to settle into my new routine. Here's my goal:

Morning - Write my scene for the day

*Break for a healthy lunch*

Early afternoon – Brainstorm my next book

Mid afternoon – Check email and do admin stuff to manage the business of writing

*Break for a healthy dinner with the family*

Family time!

The family time part is a huge goal for me. For the last several months, the norm has been this:

9am Work

Work all day

2am Bed

I often forget to eat lunch and only take breaks for dinner and domestic emergencies. (This is a not a healthy life, in case you're wondering.) ;-) It's really important to me to shift my priorities so they are no longer so freakishly out of whack. :-)

Please tell us about your novel The Cinderella Society and what we can expect from your characters.

Kay: The Cinderella Society is about an outsider who gets tapped to join a secret society of good populars dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. It's about girl empowerment: getting comfortable in your own skin and being true to who you are. It also deals with the effects of girl bullies and what unconditional friendship really means.

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

Kay: Right now I'm working on the sequel to The Cinderella Society, titled Cindy on a Mission. It follows the further adventures of Jess and the Sisters as the Wickeds launch an offensive that threatens everything the Cindys hold dear. Cindy on a Mission will be on shelves in Spring 2011.

Thanks for sharing, Kay! I wish you the best with your debut! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Kay: The best writing advice I ever got was simple: Writers write. It seems obvious, but it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of talking about a new story instead of getting that new story down on the page. The latter is the only thing that matters.

Kay Cassidy is the author of teen fiction she wishes was based on her real life. She is the founder of the national Great Scavenger Hunt Contest reading program for kids and teens and the host of the inspirational Living Your Five web project. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, movies, music, and reading. Lots and lots of reading. She hopes her debut YA novel, THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY (April 13, 2010 - Egmont), will help girls embrace their inner Cindy. Visit Kay's website,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

GLEE is back!

Lots of people were excited to see a new episode of GLEE return this week, but I have to admit that I am all new to the show. I just started watching it on DVD...but have already gotten the bug.

For those who have not seen GLEE, it is in its first season, and centers around a Glee Club at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio.

The writing is crisp and funny, the actors are talented, and it’s so fun to watch the singing, dancing--especially the “mash-ups” where they join two unlikely songs together. And I’m pretty crazy for the boy band, Acafella.

Among my favorites characters is cheer coach Sue, whose take-no-prisoners attitude knows no boundaries, and sweet Emma, the lovesick guidance counselor with germ “issues.”

How about you? Are you a GLEE Geek (or Gleek)? Who are your favorite characters?

And as a P.S., I just learned that GLEE is holding an open casting call for new cast members on Myspace! If you want to check it out--either to enter or vote--go to

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

LA Times Book Fest - April 24 - 25, 2010 & There will be a talking goat!!

Yes, a talking goat, YA Freshers!


Hilda is indeed a goat that talks with a fresh and important message. :) :) Hilda is helping to spread the word to families that it's time to read aloud together! If that isn't a cool message than I don't know what is.

Here are some deets:

"Hilda, the spokesgoat for, will be spreading the word about the importance of family members of all ages reading aloud together at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 24-25 on UCLA's campus in booth # 036.

Using technology previously seen only at Disney's theme parks, Hilda is brought to life using cutting edge animation that allows him to interact with live audiences in real time. He - yes, he - will be quizzing families and children about their favorite books as he compiles a list of great family read alouds. He'll also be playing games with attendees, interviewing some of his favorite family read aloud authors, and cheerleading all efforts to get families reading.

As the spokesgoat for and as a character in a new children's book, Hilda unites the latest in animation technology while encouraging children to embrace a more old-fashioned form of entertainment: Reading. was founded in 2008 to encourage families to read aloud together and spread the message of the importance of reading aloud."

Hilda, you rock!!

Check out Hilda at the L.A. Times Festival of books, April 24 -25, 2010!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Have You Visited the Young Adult Review Network?

Following a writers conference three summers ago, I got together with an aspiring young adult author, Shannon Marshall, who was about to start teaching English at my local high school. Among the topics we discussed was the scene I had been writing for The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, in which the hero was getting wrapped in toilet paper for the visual portion of his book report. (Captain Underpants!) She helped me put those thoughts together so I could go home and finish it.

She and I have kept in touch a bit on-line since then, chatting about books and the young adult market. She’s been a very gracious supporter of all three of my books, helping me get the word out, as well as passing along compliments from her students.

Shannon recently became one of the founders of the online publication, Young Adult Review Network, whose mission statement reads:

To publish the highest quality creative writing for young adult readers, ages 14-18, and those in other age groups who enjoy young adult literature.

I was very flattered when she asked me to make an original contribution to its debut. Which I did, in the form of the first chapter of a “companion book” to The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, which we call The Flipside.

Now, as they are getting ready to publish the second chapter of The Flipside, the fun continues in the form of a signed book giveaway of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys. Details in the link.

Plus, don’t miss the blog that Shannon wrote on the ongoing need for romantic fiction in the marketplace. (Brava!)

Thanks to Shannon and her co-creators for supporting my books and all of young adult fiction!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Something Totally YA Fresh!

What’s more fun than reading a book that makes you laugh? Sharing it with our readers here. Targeted at middle school boys (but enjoyed by genders of many ages), I’m anxious to offer it up as a funny, clever and yes, “fresh” take on many topics, including:

Grilled cheese sandwiches
First crushes
Running for 8th grade class president

Oh, and...

Installing root beer and chocolate milk at the school's water fountain
Overthrowing foreign dictators
Being a mad genius and attaining one’s goal of world domination.

Or, as the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, said, "If War and Peace had a baby with 'The Breakfast Club' and then left the baby to be raised by wolves, this book would be the result. I loved it."

Check out I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President and let us know if you liked it, too!

Monday, April 05, 2010

And the Winner..!!

Thanks so much to the YAF visitors for entering in the latest Spring (not so) Randomly Fresh Giveaway!! We just want to say thanks for visiting and chatting with us at YA Fresh. :)

And the latest winner is...



Chanelley, please email me through my website with your final book choice and I will get the book to you. :)

Thanks, Everyone, and happy reading!

Friday, April 02, 2010

(Not so) Randomly Fresh Giveaway!

I warned you, YA Freshers!

It's time for a Spring (not so) Randomly Fresh Giveaway! *crowd goes wild*


This giveaway is for YA Fresh visitors through the month of March. If you left a comment anytime during last month, this giveaway is for YOU. *wink*

So which books are up for grabs??

How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro

I So Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais

The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart

(Once again--only for visitors to YA Fresh during the month of March. :) )

Please leave a comment from now until Sunday evening, April 4th with the title of the book you would like to win. Winner will be announced Monday, April 5th.

Happy Random commenting!