Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pssst...Do I Have a Book For You!

When I was first learning about how to promote my books, I was told that arguably the best method for big sales was the one you had least control over: word of mouth. A friend, relative, bookseller or librarian making a heartfelt pitch to a reader, and who ends up loves the book so much that she in turns passes that recommendation on...and so on...

Since I love talking about books almost as much as reading and writing them, this didn't come as a huge surprise. Nevertheless, I was startled recently when I glanced at my book list (and yes, I keep a list of all the books I've read!) and realized that many of my favorites had come through recommendations.

How about you? Do you find favorites by word of mouth? And do you pass the news with friends and family when you've read a really good book, too? Share it with us...we won't tell. (Actually, yeah, we will!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 RITA® and Golden Heart® Finalists!

Romance Writers of America® announced their finalists for the 2011 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards this morning!

In the Young Adult category, honoring romance fiction published in 2010, here are the RITA® finalists:

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; Annette Pollert, editor)
The Clearing by Heather Davis (Houghton Mifflin Graphia; Julie Tibbott, editor)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; Karen Wojtyla, editor)
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (Scholastic; Cheryl Klein, editor)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen; Natashya Wilson, editor)
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (Walker Publishing; Emily Easton, editor)

In the Young Adult category, honoring 2010 unpublished romance manuscripts, here are the Golden Heart® finalists:

Irresistible by Suzanne Kaufman Kalb
The Dead Guy Downstairs by Sheri Adkins
The Lies that Bind by Shelley Coriell
Maids of Honor by Jennifer Stark w/a Jennifer McGowan
Piper's Kiss by Sheryl Carpenter
Secret Life by Bria Quinlan
Underhanded by Shoshana Brown

Winners of the awards will be announced July 1, 2011 at the RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards Ceremony to be held at RWA’s 31st Annual National Conference in New York, New York.

Congratulations to all the finalists!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Royally Crushed!

Niki Burnham’s three-book series about finding your prince is being released in one volume. Called Royally Crushed, it includes the previously published and critically acclaimed Royally Jacked, Spin Control, and Do-Over.

And what a gorgeous cover, huh?

If you missed these books the first time--or want to settle in for another good read--check it out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Winner of Ten Miles Past Normal...

The winner of this weekend's giveaway, a signed copy of TEN MILES PAST NORMAL is...


Katie, please send your contact information to Tina at admin@tinaferraro.com and we'll get the book out to you!

Thanks to all who entered!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ten Miles Past Normal Giveaway!

Today we welcome author Frances O'Roark Dowell to talk about her writing and her latest book. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of

Ten Miles Past Normal.

Hello, Frances. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Frances: I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a concentration in poetry. I started writing middle grade and young adult fiction after finally accepting the fact I would never make a living as a poet outside of the university, and I didn’t want to teach. I made my first sale after a friend of mine from grad school met a children’s book editor and asked if I could send her my manuscript. To make a long story short, my first book, Dovey Coe, ended up with Atheneum Books/Simon & Schuster, with an editor who was friends with the editor my friend met. I tell writers all the time that classes, conferences, and writing programs can be very valuable for the connections you make.

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.

Frances: I sit down around 9:30—after I’ve taken the kids to school, eaten breakfast, and walked the dog—and do everything I can to resist the siren call of the Internet. If I’m working on a first draft of a book, I can usually write for two hours. I find first drafts really, really hard. If I’m revising, I often work for five or six hours over the course of a day. I love revising.

I love revising, too! Now please tell us about your novel, Ten Miles Past Normal, and what we can expect from your characters.

Frances: Ten Miles Past Normal is the story of Janie Gorman, a 9th grader who’s having a really hard time adjusting to high school—it’s too big, all her friends are in other parts of the building, she doesn’t have anyone to eat lunch with, her teachers, with one or two exceptions, are nut jobs. She has the added burden of being a farm girl—she lives with her parents and younger sister on five acres outside of town, on what you might call a hobby farm. So she keeps showing up with school with various smelly, unfortunate things stuck to her, which is not ideal.

A lot of Janie’s story is figuring out where she fits in. At first she’s hopeful she’ll get on the Student Council/Good Kid track, where everyone’s normal and no one smells like goat manure. But life takes her in a different direction—she ends up playing bass in the school’ jam band, making friends with a monster of a guy named Monster (it’s his real name) and hanging out in the library with a Sharpie-tattoo fiend named Verbena. Not really what she was hoping for, but ultimately she realizes this is the cooler path.

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

Frances: I’m currently at work on a middle grade project (i.e. A book for readers in the 9-13 range, so a little younger than the audience for Ten Miles). The working title is Abigail Walker, but that could change, and it’s essentially about a sixth grade girl who tries to buck the system and do what she wants to do, not what everybody else wants her to do. After that, who knows. I’d like to write another YA novel.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Frances: Write everyday, even when you really don’t feel like it, even when you don’t have anything to say, even when you can’t stand the sound of your own voice on the page. Writing’s like anything—it takes practice to get good at it. There are a few geniuses around, but most writers I know work really, really hard at it.

Great tip, and thank you, Frances!

And now for our readers, to be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment telling us...your favorite number! (Mine, for no real reason, is 17!) And be sure to check back on Monday, March 21 to learn the winner!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alyson Noel's (totally cool titled novel) Shimmer

In case you didn't know, Alyson Noel's second book, in her Riley Bloom series, titled Shimmer is out!!

Here's a little about the book:

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi's advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca's sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she's not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

And here is the Alyson's new trailer for Shimmer:

Looking forward to Shimmer! (yes, l love the title. ;))

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teen Day, April 9th

If you are anywhere near Los Angeles on Saturday, April 9th, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Resort will be The. Place. To. Be.

For it has been earmarked as Teen Day at the RT Booklovers Convention. The day starts with a huge book fair where readers can meet with scores of romance authors. The teen authors will have their own rows, all together, for easy access. (I, Tina Ferraro, will be easy to find, since I'll be next to friend and New York Times bestseller Simone Elkeles!) Then all of the YA gang will move into various activities like meets-and-greets, interesting talks, author readings, one-on-one "speed dates," and then all followed by a teen party. Click HERE for a thorough list of the events and authors.

The first 250 teens who sign up for this day--and it's only $25.00 for a one-day pass--get a goodie bag which will be filled with quality swag including lots of YA BOOKS!

For more information, check HERE.

And if you can make it, please come up and say hello to me!

Here I am at the Romance Writers of America conference a couple years back, ready to schmooze. I love to meet readers and talk about books!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to all who entered The Circle Cast giveaway! The winner is...


Please e-mail me at admin@tinaferraro.com with your contact information, READING MIND, so we can get this book in the mail to you!

And everyone, be sure to keep checking back for more cool giveaways!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Circle Cast Giveaway!

We welcome today author Alex Epstein to YA Fresh today, to talk about his novel, The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, a signed copy of which will go to one lucky commenter!

Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Alex: I'm a screenwriter, so my first book was about screenwriting. I sold CRAFTY SCREENWRITING: WRITING MOVIES THAT GET MADE in 2001, based on a proposal and a first chapter. It was based on my screenwriting website. (It has since become a blog, COMPLICATIONS ENSUE.) I sold my novel, ironically, because I was looking for the movie rights to another novel, and I got to talking with the publisher, Tradewind. My first sale of any kind of writing? Hard to say. I've been pitching ideas and scripts for decades. I got my first movie credit in 1995, but that was a script I rewrote, so it wasn't a "sale." I optioned a TV show in 2001; that became NAKED JOSH, and ran for three seasons. It's just a question of writing a lot, and various different kinds of things, and relentlessly getting it out there by any means necessary. Sometimes going to the right party is as much a part of working as sitting down and banging out pages.

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.

Alex: It's extremely random. I'm not one of those guys who gets up at 4 am and writes until it's time to get the kids off to school. In the past week I took a train to Quebec City to watch a cut of a movie that needed additional scenes written; went to a pitching event where I pitched my projects to 20 producers; went to various meetings; and wrote a bunch. Sometimes writing is sitting with my wife, Lisa, and coming up with ideas, or beating up on ideas we already have. Sometimes it's sitting down to write pages. Sometimes it's pitching my novel to reviewers. Writing pages could be in the morning or at night, whenever I can get to it and whenever pages need to be written. I like writing pages a lot, but you have to do the other stuff to get there, both creatively and financially.

Please tell us about your novel, The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, and what we can expect from your characters.

Alex: I've always been fascinated by Morgan le Fay. When we first meet her, her father's being murdered so the future King Arthur's father can sleep with her mother. Then she's sent into exile. Then she returns, the most powerful sorceress of her generation. How did that happen? That's what the book is about -- the childhood of a very angry girl with a tremendous talent for magic that she begins to control. I tried to make the magic as "real" as possible -- no waving of wands and saying things backwards in Latin. Magic has a cost and a risk. And I tried to make the world as real as possible -- Morgan is born in Britain only a generation or two after the legions abandoned the island of Britain to the barbarians. It's a very different world from ours. Yet Morgan is a very relatable girl. She's not looking to rely on anybody. She's making her own destiny.

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

Alex: Next up I'm rewriting a comedy feature film script of mine that I hope to direct. We have Jessica Paré (MAD MEN) attached. It's called KIKI WILDER, and it's about a 28-year-old Montreal girl who just found out that "party girl" is not a career.

Sounds great! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Alex: Always outline. Without an outline, you're writing a 100,000 word novel. With an outline, you're writing one scene at a time. Which is easier?

Thanks, Alex! And I want to be sure to give our readers a link to your blog.

And now for our readers who would like be entered to win a signed copy of The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, please leave a comment telling us a magic talent that you'd like to have!

Check back on Monday to see the winner's name.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's Fresh with Na'ima B. Robert's Boy Vs. Girl

Farhana swallowed and reached for the hijab. But then she saw with absolute clarity the weird looks from the other girls at school, and the smirks from the guys. Did she dare? And then there was Malik... What should she do about him? Faraz was thinking about Skrooz and the lads. Soon he would finally have the respect of the other kids at school. But at what price? He heard Skrooz's voice, sharp as a switchblade: "This thing is powerful, blud. But you have to earn it, see? Just a few more errands for me..." They're twins, born 6 minutes apart. Both are in turmooil and both have life-changing choices to make, against the peaceful backdrop of Ramadan. Do Farhana and Faraz have enough courage to do the right thing? And can they help each other - or will one of them draw the other towards catastrophe? This powerful novel explores the idea of honour and what it means to different generations of Muslim families.

Hello Na'ima, thank you for sharing with us at YA Fresh. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Na'ima: I developed a love of writing in high school where I displayed the peculiar ability to thoroughly shock my teachers with the kinds of stories they did not expect to find in a high school exercise book! I loved shocking them.

But I never considered writing as a career, even though I was a serious 'book fan' throughout my teenage years and after. I first got bitten by the writing bug when my son was about a year old - I wrote some simple children's stories and rhymes with Muslim characters because I couldn't find any in the library. My first title, a picture book called The Swirling Hijaab, was published soon after and is still in print today, in over 14 dual-language editions. Writing for teens was something I never thought I would be able to do - mainly because I didn't believe I had the writing stamina to write a whole novel! But what can I say, when a story tells itself in your head, all you can do is write it!

So true, Na'ima! Please tell us about your novel and what we can expect from your characters.

Na'ima: My two teen novels, From Somalia, With Love and Boy vs. Girl are about ordinary Muslim teens, struggling to come to terms with growing up, finding themselves while balancing their many identities. But many of my characters are different from the stereotypes that are common in the media today - they provide an approachable and realistic insight into the lives of Muslim teens. But my characters also have universal appeal: at the end of the day, they have the same stuff to worry about as any other teen. In terms of what you can expect from the characters, expect them be interesting, refreshing and original too!

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

Na'ima: My next book is entitled Far From Home (available in the US in Spring 2012) and it is a story about two girls, one black, one white, one from the past, one from the present, who are caught up in political turmoil in Zimbabwe, in Africa. The two girls, Katie and Tariro, are worlds apart but their lives are linked by a terrible secret, gradually revealed in this story of two girls grappling with the complexities of adolescence, family and a painful colonial legacy. It is totally different from anything I have ever written - you'll have to read it for yourselves to see why!

Thank you again, Na'ima! Best of luck with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Na'ima: Write what you love - and don't stop being curious; it's what keeps your imagination alive!

Na’ima B. Robert is descended from Scottish Highlanders on her father's side and the Zulu people on her mother's side. She was born in Leeds, grew up in Zimbabwe and went to university in London. At high school, her loves included performing arts, public speaking and writing stories that shocked her teachers! She has written several multicultural books for children and is the author of From Somalia With Love, a novel for young adults. Boy vs. Girl is her second books for teens. She divides her time between London and Cairo and dreams of living on a farm with her own horses. Until then, she is happy to be a mum to her four children and keep reading and writing books that take her to a different world each time. To find out more about Na'ima B Robert, visit www.naimabrobert.co.uk.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Our RIVAL Winner is...


So, A Rick, please e-mail your contact information to admin@tinaferraro.com, and we'll get your signed copy in the mail to you.

Thanks to all who entered...and check back later in the week for another fun giveaway!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The RIVAL Giveaway!

We welcome today debut author, Sara Bennett Wealer, to talk about her writing and her novel, Rival. And be sure to check in at the end for details to how to be entered in a giveaway to win a signed copy!

Hello, Sara! Thanks for joining us. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sal

Sara: I’ve been writing all my life and started my career as a journalist. I’ve since moved into advertising, but novels have always been a way to reserve some creative output just for me. I get to choose what kind of books to write, and so far I don’t have any tight deadlines to meet. This has kept me sane!

I made my first sale after tons of revision and rejection. Another novel came thisclose to selling and then it fell through, so my agent and I went back out with RIVAL. Erica Sussman at HarperTeen, who eventually became my editor, believed in the story and gave me some revision notes before making an offer. I did the revisions because I knew they’d improve the story and because I knew it would help Erica sell the book internally. In the end, it paid off!

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.

Sara: I write at night, after my children are in bed. Once I’ve got everybody squared away, I sit on my living room couch and work. I try to do at least 500 words or 1 hour of editing a night. Usually I do much more than that.

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

Sara: RIVAL is about two girls who were once friends but are now enemies and are getting ready to go up against each other in a major singing competition. The book is told from each girl’s point of view, and it tells the story of how their friendship ended, then follows them to the day of the contest. Music plays a big role in the book, but there’s also romance, betrayal, gossip and, as Kirkus so eloquently put it, “bitch slaps.”

My main characters, Brooke and Kathryn, seem to be opposites, but they share a love of music and would be great friends were it not for the events of their junior year. Each girl has qualities that make her likeable but also things that make you want to give her a good shake. The book is about how our own needs and perceptions and insecurities can affect how we see other people, and about how we often let those things get in the way of recognizing our real friends and allies.

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

Sara: My next published piece will be in the DEAR BULLY anthology that HarperCollins is putting out this year. I’m so honored to be part of this project, which brings together a ton of amazing authors and helps raise funds for anti-bullying causes. I recently finished a book that takes place during sorority rush week – it’s getting some reads, so we’ll see where that goes. And then I have an all-new project that’s just too new to talk about yet!

Wonderful. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Sara: Don’t wait for inspiration. Just sit down and WRITE!! Even if you don’t feel in the mood. Bang out 500 words, then another 500, then another 500 until you’ve reached the end of your book. If you’d rather watch TV, reward yourself with a show once you’ve hit your daily word goal. If you hit a dead end in one scene, skip ahead to a scene that’s easier to write. And don’t be afraid to write “crap.” You can make everything sound beautiful later, but you’ll never finish a novel until you finish that first draft.

Thank you so much, Sara!

And now, to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Rival, because music plays such an important role in this book, leave a comment naming a favorite song! The winner will be chosen at random.

And check back on Monday, March 7th for the winner's name.