Saturday, February 26, 2011

What's Fresh with Tim Tharp's BADD

Ceejay has never been pretty or popular, but she knows who she is: she's younger sister to Bobby, the most charming bad boy in town. Bobby's a bit wild, but with his big heart and sense of fun, everybody loves him. And nobody understands Ceejay like Bobby.

Now, Ceejay can't wait for Bobby to return home from his tour in Iraq. But then he turns up unannounced and seems to be avoiding his family. And he's so different. His wild streak has become reckless. His sense of fun has become desperate. And seeing this, Ceejay's own tough shell begins to crack. How can she believe in being strong when her hero is broken?

As she tries to get Bobby back, Ceejay begins to reexamine her family, her community, and everyone in her life. What she finds is that true strength is not quite what she thought it was.

Hello Tim, thanks for stopping by to chat! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Tim: As a college undergraduate in Oklahoma, I took classes in fiction writing and then went on to the graduate fiction writing program at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The most valuable lesson I learned from my workshop experience was how to really revise my writing. After critiquing the work of my talented peers, I realized I needed to bring that same objectivity to my own writing.

My first published book was Falling Dark, a literary novel that wasn’t aimed at young adults but contained teenagers as important characters. I picked three publishers to send the manuscript to, and one of them, Milkweed Editions, chose it for their National Milkweed Prize in Fiction. I didn’t have an agent then, so I fielded their call myself and accepted their first offer. For my initial young adult novel, I found an excellent agent and she was able to generate several offers, which led to an auction for the rights to the book, The Knights of the Hill Country. Knopf and their wonderful editor won out, and I was very happy with the outcome. My advice: definitely shop your manuscript to an agent first.

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

Tim: BADD tells the story of sixteen-year-old girl, Ceejay McDermott, who is excited when her revered older brother Bobby returns from military duty in Iraq. But soon Ceejay finds that Bobby has changed. Once a fun-loving free spirit, he is now surly and even self-destructive. Although this is devastating to Ceejay, she is determined, with the help of family and a few friends, to stand by Bobby. Along the way, she discovers a new kind of courage that she never appreciated before.

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

Tim: I’m working on a couple of things, but it’s too early in the process to go into much detail about either one of them. For me, talking too much about novel ideas in their early stages drains me of the creative energy I need to push through to the end. Also, I still might change my mind and start something else. However, I can say that one of the projects involves a character who is an expert on the subject of hamburgers.

Thank you for sharing with us, Tim! Would you like to close with a writing tip or a favorite quote from your novel?

Tim: In BADD, Ceejay offers advice to a friend who might or might not become her boyfriend. Her words could come in handy for a variety of situations, even, at times, for writers: “You don’t need hope. What you need is valiance. When everything goes dark, you keep going anyway. That’s what you do.”

TIM THARP lives in Oklahoma, where he teaches at Rose State College. He is the author of the highly acclaimed YA novels Knights of the Hill Country and The Spectacular Now, which was a 2008 National Book Award finalist.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Fresh with Maryrose Wood

Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."

The Incorrigible children actually were.

Thanks to the efforts of Miss Penelope Lumley, their plucky governess, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf pups now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees.

Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild—not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's—and Penelope's—mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways. . . .

Hello, Maryrose! Please tell what your current writing schedule is like?

Maryrose: I write most days, at home, in the mornings if I can swing it. When deadlines loom there is often a second shift after dinner. I’m too busy to be picky about when and where I write, though; wherever I can sit someplace quietly with my laptop is fine. In spring and summer, sitting outside on my front porch is ideal. I like having the Internet handy to look things up, but it can also be a terrible distraction.

I’m working on the third book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series right now. It’s called “The Unseen Guest” and I’m very excited about it!

Great! How did the idea for this series come about?

Maryrose: I wish I could say there was one “aha!” moment when the whole thing arrived tied up in a bow, but this idea, like most, was a result of a few separate notions colliding and gradually turning into something new. I’ve always been a huge fan of Jane Eyre, the wonderful novel by Charlotte Brontë about a principled young governess. And, like Penelope Lumley, I am very fond of animals, especially dogs, and I have the sort of mind that hears phrases like, “those children must have been raised by wolves” and wonders, hmm! What if they really were? From those seemingly unrelated kernels the concept for the series took shape.

Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Maryrose: Miss Penelope Lumley is a proud graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. This alone is enough to make her remarkable, since it’s the sort of school that turns out graduates with excellent educations and a good deal of common sense, but even among Swanburne girls, I would have to say Penelope shows exceptional pluck. At fifteen, she is still very young, but she is genuinely up to the task of taming and educating three children who were raised by wolves. She adores animals and books, and has a particular weakness for the Giddy-Yap, Rainbow! stories, about the adventures of Edith-Anne Pevington and her faithful pony, Rainbow. Penelope is both brave and naïve and doesn’t always know the right thing to do, but she never loses her faith in the no-nonsense wisdom of her school’s founder, Agatha Swanburne, and puts her duties as a governess first. She is a Swanburne girl, through and through.

She sounds awesome! Thank you for sharing with us, Maryrose! Could you please tell us your favorite lines from the book?

Maryrose: The End. Ah, how every writer dreams of writing that line! And then taking a nap. All right, seriously: the truth is I try to write so that every line is worthy of being a favorite line; I think the reader deserves no less. So it’s impossible to pick just a few. However, I always smile when I think of Lady Constance saying this:

“And whose plain and sensible shoes are these?” she demanded of Penelope’s feet. “The rest of you, come out at once!”

Maryrose Wood is a former Broadway actor, comedian, and playwright. She has written young-adult novels and most recently wrote her first middle-grade novel, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tweet, Tweet!

On a whim last week, I joined Twitter. I suddenly have about 50 followers, and am following probably as many. But I definitely have not gotten the hang of it.

Perhaps it’s because I was eased into social networking through MySpace and Facebook, where (to my way of thinking, at least) you post a status to start up conversations. I love signing on to see scores of comments and joining into the chat on other people's pages. And I find it very handy when I need help with book research, like teen slang and fashion.

But with Twitter, it just seems like I am talking to myself. I mean, no one comments back, right? Although I have to assume somewhere, someone is listening, so I can’t be completely ridiculous and launch into the kinds of inane statements I’d make when I was truly alone. Who cares how many cycles the dryer has now run or if my pretty kitty liked her tuna snack? LOL.

So I would love to hear from our readers about Twitter. Can you help me to get the most out of it?

And if you’d like to follow Kelly and me, she is "kparra" and I am "PromMom3."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Calling YA Writers!

The Gatekeepers Post is hosting a YA writing contest at! Here's what we've been asked to share with you, YA Freshers:

Here's How It Works!

Round 1: Post the first 50 pages of your YA novel onto Wattpad by March 30th. The top 100 entries with the most votes by March 30th will be read by The Gatekeepers Post Staff. The story cannot have been started on Wattpad before February 1st, 2011.

Round 2: Those writers selected by The Gatekeepers Post staff from Round 1 will be invited to post the next 50 pages of their novel onto Wattpad by April 30th. Top editors and agents (check out the list below!), will read and select the nominees for Round 3.

Round 3: The nominees selected in Round 2 will be invited to post the remainder of their work onto Wattpad by May 30th. A winner will be announced on June 25th.

Prize: $500 cash prize to the grand prize winner!


To be considered for the contest, please tag your story: Gatekeeper.
Must be at least 13 years of age to enter and a member of Wattpad. The story cannot have been previously shared on Wattpad before February 1st, 2011. The most popular stories will be determined from an entry‚s most popular chapter. Stories cannot be rated higher than PG-13.

Judges Include:

Barbara Lalicki (SVP and Editorial Director at HarperCollins Childrens)
Sara Megibow (Literary Agent, Nelson Agency)
Selena James (Executive Editor, Dafina Books)
Anica Rissi (Executive Editor · Simon Pulse)
Sarah Shumway (Senior Editor Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)
Caryn Wiseman (Literary Agent, Andrea Brown Literary)
Jean Feiwel (Senior VP and Director, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group)
Jennifer Klonsky (Editorial Director, Simon Pulse)
Claudia Gabel (Senior Editor at Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)
Jenny Bent (Literary Agent, The Bent Agency)
Evette Porter (Editor, Kimani Tru / Harlequin)
Ann Behar - (Literary Agent, Scovil Galen Literary)
Brenda Bowen (Literary Agent, Sanford J. Greenburger)
Jen Rofe (Literary Agent, Andrea Brown)
Stephen Fraser (Literary Agent, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency)
Andrew Karre (Editorial Director, Carolrhoda Books)
Suzie Townsend (Literary Agent, FinePrint Literary Management)
Jessica Sinsheimer (Literary Agent, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency)
Alyssa Eisner Henkin (Literary Agent,Trident Media Group)
Andrea Somberg (Literary Agent, Harvey Klinger Inc.)
Stephen Barbara (Literary Agent,Foundry Literary + Media)
Tamar Rydzinski (Literary Agent, Laura Dail Literary Agency)
Irene Kraas (Literary Agent, Kraas Literary Agency)
Sara Crowe (Literary Agent, Harvey Klinger Inc.)
Elana Roth (Literary Agent,Johnson Literary)
Mary Kole (Literary Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
Jamie Weiss Chilton (Literary Agent, Andrea Brown Literary)
Amy Tipton (Literary Agent, Signature Literary)
Kevan Lyon (Literary Agent, Marshal Lyon Literary)
Leticia Gomez (Literary Agent, Savvy Literary)
Laurie McLean (Literary Agent, Agents Savant)
Jodie Rhodes (Literary Agent, Jodie Rhodes Literary)
Sarah Barley (Associate Editor, HarperCollins Children's)
Kendra Levin (Associate Editor, Viking Books)
Christina Hogrebe (Literary Agent, Janet Rotrosen Agency)
Nancy Mercado (Executive Editor, Roaring Brook Press)
Brendan Deneen (Editor, Thomas Dunne Books)

For more information go to

Very exciting! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Heads-Up on HAVEN!

YA author Kristi Cook's debut paranormal YA, Haven releases from Simon Pulse on on February 22nd, but the excitement has already begun!

If you are a Facebook user, you can join the Haven page (and learn how to be entered to win one of five personalized, sign copies).

If not, click here to read an excerpt.

Let us know if you like it! (And remember, you heard it here first...)

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Have a Winner!

A copy of The Lonely Hearts Club is going out to


who not only entered the contest, but told us last month that was a fan of the movie, SHE'S ALL THAT, too!

And seems like a great book to win on Valentine's Day, huh?

Erin, please send your mailing address to me at

Thanks, and congratulations!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Randomly Fresh Giveaway!

Hello YA Freshers!! It's that time again for a...


It's Random.
It's Fresh.
It's a Giveaway.
For visitors who comment on YA Fresh.
With a choice from 3 books.
Did I mention it's random?

Here's who can enter...anyone who has commented from December 9th through January 31st! (And sorry, comments on giveaways don't count! They have to be good ol' friendly chatty comments. I know, I'm so picky!)

So what can you win? The winner has a choice from these three titles:

How to Hook a Hottie

List your choice in the comments and I’ll announce a winner on Monday!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls--Winner!!

Thanks so much for entering in the Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls Giveaway!

And the random winner is...

Bibliosaurus Text!!

**and the crowd goes wild**

Please email me at kellyparra AT earthlink DOT net with your mailing address so you may receive your copy.

Thanks so much everyone!


PS... check back for more fun this week! *wink*

Friday, February 04, 2011

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls--Giveaway!!

Are you looking for another paranormal series to sink into? Here's your chance!

When M.J. Holliday and the crew of her cable TV show, Ghoul Getters, venture to the haunted ruins of Dunlow Castle in Ireland, drawn by the legend of hidden treasure, they hope the road will rise up to meet them, that the wind will always be at their backs-and that the resident phantom won't push them off a cliff. If they treasure their lives, M.J. and her ghost busters need to get the drop on the menacing phantom...

GHOULS, GHOULS, GHOULS is the fifth book in Laurie's popular Ghost Hunter Mystery series. The series features sassy, no-nonsense medium and ghost buster M.J.Holliday. Laurie, real-life professional psychic, has been hailed as the "queen of paranormal mysteries" ( Kirkus says, "Reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's bunch, Laurie's enthusiastic, punchy ghost busters make this paranormal series one teens can enjoy too."

RULES: Comment to win a free copy of Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls by Victorie Laurie between now and February 6th, 2011. This contest is publisher sponsored and open to US residents only. Winner to be announced Monday, February 7th. Oh, and happy commenting!

To learn more about New York Times Bestselling author Victoria Laurie and her works, visit her website,