Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Winner!

The winner of a signed copy of LITTLE WOMEN AND ME is...


Elizabeth, if you willcontact me at admin@tinaferraro.com with your mailing address, we'll get that in the mail to you!

Thanks to all who entered and visit us again very soon!

Friday, November 25, 2011


We welcome today Lauren Baratz-Logsted to talk with us about her writing career and her latest young adult release, Little Women and Me.

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

Lauren: I'd been an independent bookseller for 11 years in 1994 when I decided to quit my day job to take a chance on myself as a writer. It took me nearly eight more years - during which I wrote seven books, went through three agents, and held down as many as four part-time jobs at once - before, on my own, I sold the sixth book I'd written to Red Dress Ink. That book was THE THIN PINK LINE, a dark comedy about a crazy Londoner who fakes an entire pregnancy. It was published in 10 countries, received a starred Kirkus review - the first at that time for any book from any Harlequin imprint - and was optioned for a film.

How exciting! 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.

Lauren: In the years I was trying to get published, I used to get up and start writing between 2:30 and 4:30 in the morning. Now my schedule is more civilized. I start working when my daughter gets on the bus at 7 in the morning and work pretty much straight through until she comes home at 4.'

Please tell us about your novel, LITTLE WOMEN AND ME, and what we can expect from your characters.

Lauren: It's about a 14-year-old contemporary teen named Emily March who gets sucked into the classic Louisa May Alcott novel. Once there, she discovers that the rest of the characters treat her as if she's been there all along - she becomes a fifth March sister - and she also realizes that if she ever wants to get back out again, she's going to have to change something pretty major about the book. The original characters from the Alcott book should be familiar to readers of Little Women although now they're seen through the prism of Emily's vision. As for Emily herself, well, she can be a little bit annoying! She starts out self-absorbed and boy-obsessed. But that's one of the fun things about writing fiction: creating difficult characters and watching them change and grow.

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

Lauren: The eighth book in THE SISTERS EIGHT series for young readers that I created with my husband and daughter recently came out, and next year the ninth and final book will be released.

Outside of that, I'm doing an adult ebook, THE BROMAGNET, about a 33-year-old man who's the ultimate man's man. He's also been best man at eight weddings but never the groom and what he really wants is true love. So when he meets a woman he thinks might be the one, he hides his usual sports-loving, beer-loving tendencies in the hopes of winning her heart.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Lauren: It's in every writer's best interest to adopt The Five-Minute Rule. What's that, you ask? It's the rule that states that no matter what happens - rejection, of which there can be a lot in a writer's life; poor reviews; rave reviews; you name it - you take five minutes to feel whatever you feel...and then you get back to work. It's the only way to keep focused on the most important thing - the writing - in what is always going to be a roller-coaster life if you've chosen to be a writer. Of course, if the good news is that you've sold a book, I'll let you take more than five minutes to celebrate.

That's great advice, Lauren, thank you!

So for our readers! Lauren has kindly offered to send a signed copy of LITTLE WOMEN AND ME to a commenter who lives inside the U.S. The winner will be chosen on Monday, November 28th and announced here. In order to be entered, simply leave us a comment telling us the name of any character in Louisa May Alcott's book, Little Women. (Hint: the March sisters are Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) . Best of luck to all, and thanks again to Lauren for joining us!

--UPDATE--I am extending this contest to Tuesday, November 29th, so there's still time to enter!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Do you Like Your Turkey?

This year I will be cooking the big turkey for our family Thanksgiving meal. For many years, I traveled to other family homes to feast on their wonderful meals. This year, it is my turn to step up to the turkey plate!

Hmmm, to cook a turkey, to cook a turkey--that's right, I do not know HOW to cook the bird. But I will prevail with a little help from the internet! It seems there are some interesting ways to cook a turkey...

Brine turkey - soak the turkey with some salt and seasoning, then bake.

Fry a turkey - Dip the whole turkey into a deep fryer.

Roast a turkey - Roast it up in the oven!

Grill a turkey - Grill it on the BBQ.


Well, it will definitely be the oven method...um, does anyone know how to season one? haha! Either way, I hope our friends in the US have a wonderful time with family and friends and eat some good turkey! *wink*

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am a longtime fan of Harlan Coben’s action/adventure novels, especially his Myron Bolitar series. So when I read he was coming out with a young adult novel, SHELTER, featuring Myron’s nephew, Mickey...well, count me in, right?

Here is the book blurb:

Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools.

A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey's train-wreck of a life is finally improving - until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury - and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

I just finished this book last night, and I have to say, it’s definitely a page-turner! With rapid-fire dialogue, laughs, action, intrigue, romance and heartfelt moments--it really had it all for me. I was delighted to hear that it’s the first in a series.

And it occurred to me that much the way James Patterson’s fast-paced young adult series appeals to some “reluctant readers," so too might this series. Which is always a bonus to me, because half the fun of discovering a great read is being able to share it with others who enjoy it, too.

Check it out!

Monday, November 14, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who entered this past weekend's giveaway of a copy of The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen. Our randomly drawn winner is:


So Sunnynikki, if you'll e-mail me at admin@tinaferraro.com, I will get that book winging its way to you. Congratulations!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Mephisto Covenant Giveaway!

Some months ago, I got an Advanced Reader Copy of The Mephisto Convenant, which my daughter promptly grabbed, read and adored. I blogged about it here, in which I mentioned the author, Trinity Faegan, visiting us once the book was widely available. The book's now out, and getting fabulous reviews, and here's Trinity to chat with us about it.

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

I started writing when I was in high school, but didn’t attempt to become published until the mid-90s. My first sale was to Silhouette Bombshell in 2005 and they bought three more after that. Unfortunately, the fourth was never published because they folded the Bombshell line. But I got to keep the money, so it wasn’t all bad. Fast forward four years and I (finally) sold again – a YA paranormal romance. The process is very different than category romance, so I feel like a complete rube, but it’s been a journey like no other.

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.

I wish I had a schedule and stuck to it. In truth, I write in huge spurts of adrenaline and caffeine. The book I just turned in was written in three parts. The first part, I tweaked and rewrote until it was just how I wanted. The second part was written in tiny fits and starts during the summer while my daughters were home, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t concentrate long enough to get it finished. Which is why the last part was written in three weeks, working almost around the clock. I do keep trying to manage an 8-5 schedule, however. Someday…

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

Here’s a wee blurb I have handy:

A descendant of the daughter of Eve, born before Original Sin, falls in love with a son of the dark angel, Mephistopheles, then discovers she alone can save him from Hell, but only if she gives up mortality and her birthright of certain Heaven to join him and his brothers in a brutal war to save mankind’s free will.

There’s also a lot of kissing. And sex. On the page. This has gotten me some righteous dings in reviews, but even those who are shocked or offended admit it’s not gratuitous, and goes to the plot. This is romance, pure and simple, and I hope romance fans will enjoy it. Those who look for more literary, deep-thinking young adult fare may be disappointed. The Mephisto Covenant is commercial fiction all the way.

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

I turned in book 2 in this series a few weeks ago and am now awaiting edits. It will be released in Fall 2012, and centers around another Mephisto brother and his very rocky road to true love.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Write what you love to read, not what you see as ‘the market.’ You have to stay true to your own voice, because that’s all that separates us and makes us unique. Every book I’ve written that I had to force hasn’t sold. Stay the course and wish for luck, because as much as no one will admit it, luck plays a big part in selling your work. Just be sure you have a good project when luck comes calling.

Thank you to Tina, Kelly and YA Fresh for having me here!

Thanks to you, Trinity!

Now, for our readers--in order to be entered to win a copy of this book, simply leave us a comment telling us you'd like to read The Mephisto Covenant, and maybe why? The winner will be drawn randomly and announced on Monday, November 14!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Our SLAYERS Winner...

The winner of a signed copy of SLAYERS by C. J. Hill is...


So Mrs. Dix, if you will kindly e-mail me at admin@tinaferraro.com, we'll get the book in the mail to you!

Thanks to all who entered. And check in again next weekend as we feature another cool giveaway!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Slayers: The Giveaway!

We are so pleased to welcome Janette Rallison back to YA Fresh, to talk about her latest release, SLAYERS (writing as C. J. Hill).

Please, tell us about your book in ten words or less.

Dragons are coming back. Slayers have superpowers to fight them.

Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?

I'm going to have to go with Bess because she doesn't take anything too seriously--not even the fact that she's been conscripted into fighting dragons. Plus she has a good sense of humor. I love people like that.

Tell us something fun about SLAYERS. It can be a character detail, something that inspired the story, or a behind the scenes story from the writing process.

One of the inspiring incidents of this novel happened when I was fifth grade and had just moved to Silver Springs, Maryland. All the adults there were quite excited because this was the year that the cicadas would emerge from the ground after remaining dormant and hidden for 17 years. The next door neighbor happily explained to me that this was the cicadas’ way of avoiding predators. Since they only emerged every 17 years, predators couldn’t depend on them as a food source.

A brilliant adaptation, I might add, for an insect that isn’t smart enough to avoid accidentally flying into your hair.

I remember finding a lot of hollow cicada skins that summer, because cicada’s also shed their skin. Ahh, there’s nothing nicer to find hanging from your bedroom windowsill than a creepy, hollow bug skin.

But anyway, the point to all of this was that as a child I immediately picked up on what the adults seemed to have missed in the cicadas’ amazing return from the underworld. If bugs could (sort of) hibernate for nearly two decades in order to give themselves a natural advantage, why couldn’t other species do it too? Maybe there were animals with such long life cycles we just hadn’t caught them emerging yet.

I grew up on Godzilla movies and so had a strong and deep rooted fear that dinosaurs might one day show up and start smacking buildings around and eating screaming Japanese people—or worse yet: eat me.

No one knew what had caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and I was surprised that no one had come up with my theory. They weren’t really gone. They were just hibernating. Waiting until there were lots of yummy fifth grade girls around to chomp on. And there were probably some eggs buried under my house!!

The nice thing about childhood fears is that you can use them later in your novels. Nothing is ever wasted when you’re a writer. In Slayers, dragon eggs can hibernate for over a hundred years, and now they're coming back.

Great story, and love how you were able to bring it forward to your writing! What is a favorite comment you've ever received from a fan?

Sometimes kids tell me they they were reading my book in school--when they were supposed to be doing something else--and they got caught because they laughed out loud. You've got to love a kid who risks punishment to read.

Great! What are you working on now?

I have some revisions to do on a paranormal romance, and then I'll start writing the second book of Slayers.

Thanks so much, Janette!

Now, for our readers, in order to be entered to win a signed copy of Slayers, and playing off Janette's chat about cicadas flying into her hair and shedding their skins on her window sill, mention a bug that is less than thrilling to you in our comments. (I'll start: since I have a bee allergy, for me it's, well, bees!)

Best of luck, and be sure to check in on Monday to see the name of the randomly drawn winner!