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!