Monday, August 30, 2010

Critters Calls His Winners!

Well, to be perfectly frank, the winners were chosen by the handy-dandy random number generator that my husband made for me some time back for purposes just as this! So...

A hardcover copy of Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant goes to...


And a first chapter critique goes to...


So, please, ladies, contact me at, and we’ll chat about getting those prizes to you!

To all who entered--thank you so much! And please return to YA Fresh often...(lowers voice to whisper)...particularly next weekend when we have another fun giveaway in the form of bookstore gift card...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Critter Goes to College/Giveaways!

On Monday, I posted a picture of my new friend, Critter, and posed some questions about who he was and why he was appearing on our blog. All to be answered now! In addition to two giveways in celebration of his visit! (More on that later.)

So, who is Critter? He is an interactive art piece (created by artist, Ian Sands) that has visited several Children's Lit blogs since 2009. He was last seen strolling around Ann Arbor, Michigan before visiting with me. When he ultimately returns home from his travels, he will be auctioned off, with the winning bid donated to St. Jude’s.

As I’ve said, Critter has had many and varied travels, but I do believe this is the first time he has gone to college! Here he is, packing up:

And with me in the back of the car:

Now, jump ahead a few hours, a few freeways and a few Taco Bell Taco Supremes and here he is, entering one of the entrances to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). This is the Thomas and Mack Center, the state-of-the-art arena that features sporting, music and cultural events:

Now, after cruising a couple more streets and parking, he takes in his new environment. His dorm:

Here he is, admiring new Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which hosts a wide array of health and fitness services:

All of which he loved, but found exceptionally exhausting! So I know he was quite happy to finally kick back on a bed with a cold can of apple juice, and his favorite iPod tune...

Which brings is to the giveaways! In order to be entered, leave the name of the song you think he’s listening to on his iPod in our comments. And also tell us which prize you’d like to win:

BOOK, which is a hardcover copy of Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant.


CRITIQUE, which will be a line edit critique by me--Tina Ferraro--of the first chapter of your unpublished novel (geared at young readers, max 20 pages). As background on me, I am the author of three published Random House young adult novels, two of which were nominated for the Romance Writer’s of America Rita(R) award for Best Yong Adult Romance of that year, and I am a frequent critiquer and contest judge. This may be the only time I offer this as a blog prize...but Critter is just that special to me!

The contest starts now, and “the book winner” and “the critique winner” will be announced here on Monday.

And next Critter is off to visit New Jersey’s
Cynthia Chapman Willis if you want to follow him along!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Last Song

Ronnie and her little brother have been shipped off for the summer to her father in Georgia. Ronnie has serious anger issues with her parents for divorcing and against her father for leaving, who was also her piano teacher. The day he left, she took a bat to the piano and hasn't played since.

The thing is Ronnie has an extraordinary talent for her age. She's recently graduated from high school and has been invited to Juilliard. But she's not going. Her anger and betrayal for her father runs too deep.

When Ronnie meets Will, she begins to open herself to young love and to forgiveness towards her father. Only to discover a heartbreaking secret that rocks her world.

The Lost Song is a touching story that will seriously make you cry buckets! You'll want a tissue box nearby as you follow Ronnie's emotional and entertaining journey. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010


Wait...who is Critter? Where is Critter? WHAT is Critter?

All these questions will be answered--and more--this week, along with a cool giveaway! In the meantime, here's a sneak peak!

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's Fresh with Lisa Cach's Wake Unto Me coming in 2011!

I see him in my dreams, this mysterious boy.
He comes from
a different time,
a different place,
a different reality.

But there is something that connects us.
We are supposed to be together--bound by the heart of another.
But that's not possible... or is it?

Hello Lisa, 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?

Lisa: After college at Mount Holyoke, where I got a B.A. in English Lit, I tried a graduate program in writing at the University of Southern California, but it didn't suit me and I moved back home. I tried and failed to get published, eventually gave up, and in a desperate bid to do something with my life I got a job teaching conversational English in Japan. Off I went, for a year that was often difficult but ultimately valuable, and I'm glad I did it.

I came home and got a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology, paid for with my earnings from Japan (lucky for me, the yen was high). After graduating, I worked for three years on the graveyard shift at a crisis line. I enjoyed it well enough, but wasn't satisfied. My heart was turning me back towards writing, and I decided to try again.

I wrote two more books, submitted them to publishers without an agent, and was working on a third book --and on the verge of giving up yet again, given all the rejection letters I was receiving-- when I finally heard that Chris Keeslar at Dorchester Publishing was interested in my time-travel romantic comedy, "The Changeling Bride." That moment was probably the happiest of my writing career, before or since. It had been nearly ten years from when I first started writing to when I sold that book.? I finally felt that my writing had been validated, and when well-meaning people asked me that painful question, "Are you published?" I could finally say, "Yes!? Yes!? Yes!"

“The Changeling Bride” was reissued by Dorchester in August of this year, 2010, eleven years after its initial release. In those eleven years, I’ve written over twenty novels and novellas.

Wow, that's a wonderful accomplishment, Lisa! 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.

Lisa: I’m one of those writers who provides a bad example to anyone who procrastinates and appears to lack discipline. I don’t write every day. I don’t even write every week. I mentally circle around a project, occasionally thinking about it but writing nothing, and then I’ll spend two or three days writing feverishly and spitting out fifty or sixty pages. Then I retreat again, to ponder and circle and do other things — gardening, cooking, taking walks, answering emails, going out to eat with friends. In other words: Life.

I’ve tried to make myself write every day at set hours, but it doesn’t work for me. On the third or fourth day I find that there are no words or ideas left in my head, and try as I might I can’t get anything good or new to come out of my brain. I’ve realized that I need those ‘off’ times where I do no writing. That is when my creativity, and my concentration, are replenished.

But I will add — I never just wait for inspiration to hit me, because I tell ya, inspiration has a lousy aim. No, it’s more that if I’m well-rested, I make myself sit down somewhere (anywhere, as long as it’s comfortable and quiet) with my AlphaSmart keyboard, and I sit there until I’ve at least managed to put down one new sentence. Once I get going, and overcome the inertia of not having written for a few days, I get intrigued by the story I’m writing and can keep going. I’ll write for an hour or so, then go get some tea, and maybe move from the living room recliner to the lounge chair on the deck. I’ll write for another hour or two, then go water plants. And so on.

And if I’m really having trouble getting into gear and staying there, I take out the big guns: double Irish breakfast tea, and a bag of peanut M&Ms. Caffeine and chocolate. What more do I need to say?

Your routine closely resembles mine! haha! Please tell us about your latest novel Wake Unto Me and what we can expect from your characters.

Lisa: Wake Unto Me, Speak (Penguin), March 31, 2011

Caitlyn Monahan knows she belongs somewhere else. It’s what her dead mother’s note suggested, and it’s what her recurring nightmares allude to. Desperate to flee these terrifying dreams—and her small town—she accepts a spot at a boarding school in France. Only, when she arrives, her nightmares get worse.

But then there are her amazing dreams, so vivid and so real, with visits from an alluring, mysterious, and gorgeous Italian boy from the 1500s. Caitlyn knows they are soul mates, but how can she be in love with someone who exists only in her dreams?

Then, as her reality and dream world collide, Caitlyn searches for the real reason why she was brought to this school. And what she discovers will change her life forever.

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

Lisa: I’m working on another YA book set at the same school as Wake Unto Me, with a different main character; its working title is Foxfire. It will be a stand-alone book, as opposed to a sequel that must be read in order. I always go half-mad when I find a book I want to read, then realize it’s Book 2 or Book 3 in a series, and I can’t find Book 1!

I’m also playing around with an idea for another group of YA books, set in 1810s England, with a ghost-hunting heroine.

In early 2011, I’ll have a vampire novella for adult readers out, in an anthology called Blood and Moonlight. In September 2011, I’ll also have an adult romance released, but it’s bawdy and naughty, and definitely not YA, so I’ll say no more about it here.

Best of luck with your latest novel, Lisa! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Lisa: I’ll pass along a few pieces of advice that I’ve received from others:

It’s easier to fix a bad page than to fix a blank page.

Everyone needs an editor. Everyone’s writing needs help. We all need constructive criticism, and to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

Don’t let the rejection letters get you down. 99.99% of writers face piles of them, and they hurt. They suck dry your motivation. They depress you. You’re going to feel bad about them, but you have to keep going anyway.

And finally:
Don’t compare yourself to others, for good or ill. You’re on your own path.

Lisa Cach is the award-winning author of more than twenty romantic novels and novellas, ranging across sub-genres from Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, and Chick Lit, to Young Adult. Her novel "Dating Without Novocaine" was named one of Waldenbooks' "Best Books of 2002," and she is a two-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Lisa Cach was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she still lives today. Her professional background includes teaching conversational English in Japan, and several years working the graveyard shift on a mental health crisis line. She has traveled to the foothills of the Himalaya, the jungles of Borneo, the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, and the painted caves of the Perigord Noir, in France. She has sailed the Caribbean as a working crew member of a research schooner, and the Bering Sea as a guest on a small ship.

Her love of travel has lately given way to pursuits closer to home: cooking, gardening, drawing. And, of course, reading. Her favorite book has always been Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre", while the only book to ever give her nightmares was Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles".

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Winner!

Thanks to all of you who left a comment to enter the contest to win an Advanced Reader Copy of DELCROIX ACADEMY: THE CANDIDATES.

Our winner is...


(who said she wanted the superhero talent of she could shop more!)

Ashlyn, please contact me at with your mailing information so I can get the book in the mail to you!

And thanks again to Inara Scott for visiting with us!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Delcroix Academy: The Giveaway!

We welcome debut author Inara Scott today, who I got the chance to meet at the Romance Writers of America conference last month, and whose bright smile and positive attitude was very infectious. And she has every reason to be glowing right now, with August 24th launch of her young adult series, Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

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

I started writing in high school, but never took any creative writing classes. I was always WAY too intimidated by creative writing types -- they seemed much more intellectual and angsty than me, and I suspected they wouldn't be impressed by my genre of choice (romance novels!). I was also way too practical to consider trying to make a living as a writer. I ended up going to law school so I could write all day long and actually get paid for it. But scholarly essays and legal briefs didn't capture my attention the same way gentlemen pirates and supernatural powers did. I got back into writing in 2005, after being stuck in a hotel in Anchorage for two weeks for an incredibly boring trial. Over the next couple of years I wrote two adult novels and then after hearing Meg Cabot speak at a conference, decided to try YA. I submitted Delcroix Academy to 50 agents. 49 said "pass". One took me on, and we sold Delcroix in a pre-empt to Disney-Hyperion in a two-book deal. It was an incredible shock.

Defying the odds--I love it! Now, please tell us about your novel, Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, and what we can expect from your characters.

Dancia Lewis is a girl with a dangerous paranormal gift -- she can make things happen just by imaging them. The problem is, when she uses her gift, people always end up getting hurt. Dancia tries to make herself invisible, hiding from the world in an effort to avoid using her powers, but when she's recruited to attend Delcroix Academy, an exclusive boarding school, all bets are off. Suddenly, she's got the hottest guy on campus and a dark, troublemaking best friend vying for her attention. But why has the most invisible girl in the ninth grade suddenly become so popular? What's really going on behind the gates of Delcroix Academy?

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

I am currently working on edits for the next book in the series (Delcroix Academy: The Watchers) which will be released in August 2011.

Sounds great! Care to close with a writing tip?

I run into a lot of people who tell me they'd love to write but don't have time. I usually smile and nod, and it's true, time is a precious commodity. But the truth is, you can always find time for the things that are most important to you. If writing is REALLY what you want to do, take a hard look at how your spend your days. Ask yourself what you're willing to give up, and then put your butt in the chair. You'll be amazed at what you can do.

Thanks, Inara. And thank you, too, for offering up an Advanced Reader Copy of your book to one of our lucky commenters!

So to all of those interested in wining the ARC of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, simply tell us...if you could have a super power, what would it be?

And check back on Monday morning, when we announce the winner!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's Fresh with The Familiars!

Is the kingdom's fate in the hands of an orphan cat?

Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn's always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so—and Aldwyn is happy to play along.

He just has to convince the other familiars—the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert—that he's the powerful cat he claims to be.

Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia.

On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure—an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor—is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship.

Hello Adam and Andrew! So glad to have you share with us on YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

A & A: We began writing screenplays together just out of college. Our first script sale would become the 2001 Sony film, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE. That led to years of steady film and television writing, on various features and the MTV Movie Awards (working with comedians ranging from Jimmy Fallon to Jack Black to Andy Samberg). Then, in 2008, we decided to write our first novel, THE FAMILIARS. It was picked up by Harper Collins in May of 2009, and optioned for film soon after. The journey from writing teen comedies to middle grade fantasy fiction has been quite a ride!

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.

A & A: One of the unique things about this book is that we co-authored it. The two of us literally sat in the same room for months and months (we pretty much put in banker’s hours, 9-5 Monday through Friday) writing every word, sentence, and paragraph together. Andrew is the typist (because he’s frankly a much faster typer), while Adam sits beside him, or across from him in a nice, comfy chair, or sometimes paces around. After our initial conversation about the idea, we loosely outlined the first few chapters and just dove in. Then after writing about 45 pages, we meticulously plotted out the rest of the story. Of course we discovered many details along the way, but we had a basic sense of the major plot points and where the first book would end. Neither one of us were English majors in college or had any book writing experience previously, but we’ve both read a lot, watched a lot, and lived inside our imaginations since we were little kids.

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

A & A: The Familiars is our debut novel. It is being published by Harper Collins Childrens and will be released on September 7th. Back in 2008, when we hatched the idea for The Familiars, it all started with Adam asking Andrew, “Do you know what a familiar is?” Andrew said he didn’t. Adam explained, “A familiar is the animal companion to a witch or wizard, like Hedwig in ‘Harry Potter.’” Andrew immediately took to the idea. We loved that familiars were always in the background, doing very little. What if we told a story where the familiars were front and center? And they were the ones going on the adventure. And Adam’s simple question quickly led to the creation of Vastia and all the magical animals inhabiting it. Our three main characters are an orphan alley cat named Aldwyn who is mistaken for being a young boy wizard’s familiars; Skylar, a know-it-all blue jay with the ability to cast magical illusions; and Gilbert, a bumbling tree frog who can see visions of the past, present, and future in puddles of water… sometimes. We didn’t have to look very far for our inspiration for Aldwyn. In fact, he was right in Adam’s backyard. There was a stray black-and-white alley cat named Ben, missing a chunk of his left ear, who visited there every day. The rest seemed to just flow effortlessly. The Familiars is targeted at middle readers, ages 8-12, but we really believe it will appeal to anyone who loves animals, magic, or fantasy. It takes inspiration from “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” and hopefully puts its own unique spin on the classic hero’s journey.

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

A & A: We have recently completed book two of The Familiars, which will be out in September of 2011. And we have been concurrently adapting the screenplay for the 3D animated film, due in theaters in 2013!

Congratulations!! Thank you again for stopping by, Adam and Andrew. I wish you the best of luck with this awesome new series. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

A & A: The same three words that Oliver Stone gives to aspiring writers: “Butt plus chair.”

ADAM JAY EPSTEIN spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while ANDREW JACOBSON grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in a parking garage out in Los Angeles. They have been writing for film and television together ever since. The Familiars is their first book.

Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, their daughters, Penny and Olive, and a black-and-white alley cat who hangs out in their backyard. Andrew Jacobson lives with his wife, Ashley, and their dog, Elvis, four traffic lights away.

THE FAMILIARS will be produced for film by Sam Raimi and Sony Animation. To learn more about The Familiars visit,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hello from O-Town!

The O-Town in the title there is a wave hello at a certain golfing librarian who regularly visits this site! :)

For those of you who don't know, I was among the sold-out crowd at the recent Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando, Florida! I had wonderful conversations and lots of laughs, and picked up some good tips that applied to my writing.

Here I am at the Literacy Signing. You'll see the blue flag that indicates that one of my books is a Rita finalist!

This next shot was taken at the Rita/Golden Heart reception, and features four of the Young Adult Finalists for the Rita: Lauren Strasnick, Simone Elkeles, me and Ally Carter.

And now here we are, joined by Jennifer Echols in the far left, all dressed up at the event. (Clearly I missed the "memo" to wear black!)

Simone won, and gave a poignant and funny speech, ending with saying that Disney World really WAS the happiest place on earth. Heartfelt congrats to Simone from Kelly and me to Simone!

And thanks to all who made my conference week so special.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Our Randomly Fresh Winner...

This past weekend's Randomly Fresh Winner, who requested a copy of Kelly McClymer's MUST LOVE BLACK is...

Erika Lynn!

Please contact me at admin@tinaferraro,com with your mailing information so I can get the book winging its way to you!

Thanks, and everyone, be sure to check back next weekend when we will be featuring another cool book giveaway!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Randomly Fresh Giveaway!

Did you leave a comment on our YA Fresh blog in the month of July?

If so, you are eligible for our Randomly Fresh Giveaway! Simply announce yourself in our comments between now and Sunday evening, and tell us which of these three books you'd like to receive:

Check back on Monday to learn the winner! And be sure to keep up your commenting every month!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Spreading the "Tell Me a Secret" Love!

We are super excited to help author Holly Cupala spread the love for her Tell Me a Secret Trailer Launch Party!

Party Prizes! Here’s what people can win:

~ Signed TMAS books!
~ TMAS t-shirts!
~ Fan-made bracelets by Hannah S!
~ Music that inspired the book!
~ Sneak Previews!
~ Bookmarks and Handmade Magnets!
~ A Tell Me a Secret handmade necklace made by Gypsy Wings!

HOW TO WIN? Share the Trailer Love!

Click here to go to YouTube, then click the Share button to send to your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or blog! 5 pts each. Click here to tell us where you posted and enter to win!

Plus Holly will be featured at readergirlz for the entire month of August, with a live Twitter chat coming up! Hope you enjoy the trailer, and thank you so much for being part of the virtual tour and party!

So if you'd like to participate--Share the "Tell Me a Secret" Love too!!