Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Strolling Down Memory Lane in an Unworn Prom Dress

Before I start my blog post today, I want to send out Kelly’s and my best 
to all on the east coast who are dealing with superstorm Sandy!    
Details of the devastation are still emerging, but
so glad the worst is over for some of you, and to the rest, keep safe!  

Back in December of 2008, Random House released the electronic version of my first book with them, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress. 

Here’s the cover and back blurb:

 Sophomore year, Nicolette Antonovich was dumped two days before prom 
by the hottest guy at school. As a result, she became the proud owner
 of one unworn, perfectly magical pink vintage dress. 
But Nic is determined to put that night behind her for good. 
She's a junior now— older, wiser, 
and completely overwhelmed by a new set of problems: 
(1) The bank's ready to foreclose on her childhood home. 
(2) Her father's too busy with his "replacement" daughter to care. 
(3) Her best friend's brother is an eternal thorn in her side. 
(4) Her best friend isn't exactly the rose attached to that thorn.
 (5) Rumors are flying around school that could get her 
kicked off the volleyball team, which would 
(6) ruin all chances of a college scholarship. 
(7) She still likes the boy who dumped her in the first place.
 (8) And what in the world do you do with an unworn prom dress, anyway? 
Strangely, it's getting to the bottom of this last dilemma 
that just might hold the answer to all Nic's problems.

Upon e-publication, I immediately bought a Kindle and downloaded the book--although I admit I didn’t actually read it.  I’d spent plenty of time writing it, revising it, and editing it for paper publication, and, well, I had other pressing interests.

But this past weekend, while getting ready to **spoiler alert** announce a brand new book about to be released in e-book form, I fired up my Kindle and went back to the fictional Thurman Oaks, California, to spend time with some of my favorite old friends. 

And what a surreal experience it was!  It was walk down memory lane for me not only with these characters, but from my real life, as well, as I remembered conversations and suggestions with my wonderful critique partner/blog partner, Kelly Parra, and fabulous editor, Krista Marino.  I was able to be more subjective about the story, to see why I had received such nice compliments about it being “compulsively re-readable” and the fan mail wanting to know if Nicolette and Jared stayed together forever.  (I don’t know for sure...but I really think they do!)

Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress is still available e-book form  (and to my delight, still being downloaded with regularity), so if you’re looking for a looking for a light young adult romance with “an interesting plot, funny dialogue and situations, and an engaging lead character” (Library School Journal), you can check it out here:

And be sure to check back early next month to learn all about my next release, The Starter Boyfriend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hello from other sites!

Since publishing has began to change with digital books, not only have publishers, agents, and readers had to adjust, so have authors.

It was a little bit easier when you always had a physically book in your hand to offer to a reader or be able to sign a book. A couple of years ago I had my first ebook only release and I was sort of at a loss on how to share and promote!

One thing I hope to grow and continue is chatting with friends and readers on-line. So I just wanted to please invite our YA Fresh friends (who haven't already) to join our other on-line social sites. We'd love to connect with you in other ways as well as on the blog.

So feel free to check out our pages and say hello so we can chat!

Kelly on Facebook
Kelly on Twitter
Kelly on Goodreads

Tina on Facebook
Tina on Twitter
Tina on goodreads

Thanks and hope to "see you" around cyberspace!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's Fresh with Foretold!

I mentioned previously that I loaded my Kindle with YA novels before leaving for my European trip...and then found myself so busy sightseeing and visiting that I didn’t get around to reading many. No harm--I’ll get to them all eventually.

I thought I’d share with our readers a book I did read and particularly liked, Foretold, a compilation of short stories written by fourteen noted YA authors (including Heather Brewer, Meg Cabot, Matt de la Pena, Simone Elkeles and Lisa McMann, all of whom have been featured here), and edited by Carrie Ryan. 

Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? 
To challenge predictions? To question fate?
It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. 
But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?
From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, 
Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s 
unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted
 by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.

The stories vary between world-building paranormals, fairy tales and contemporaries, and are all very good.  One that has stayed with me was “Improbable Futures” by Kami Garcia, about a young fortune teller in a traveling carnival who gets her kicks by casting bad fortunes...and then some start to come true.

Incidentally, it was with a nod to our own Kelly Parra that I downloaded this book, in that I so enjoyed the two paranormal YA anthologies that she’s contributed to, Something Wicked and Prom Dates to Die For, that I went looking for more.  Check them all out! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What's Fresh with Elena Perez's The Art of Disappearing

Delia can see the future…but can she change it?

All Delia wants is to be popular. She has the perfect plan: join the cheerleading squad with her best friend, Ava, and rule the school from the coolest table in the cafeteria. But everything changes the day she watches a boy die—before it actually happens.

After dreaming about a classmate’s demise, she’s shocked when she witnesses his last breath—just like she dreamt it. Ava insists Delia stop acting so strange, but Delia worries her abilities are beyond her control.

Torn between who she is and who she wants to be, Delia wishes she could simply disappear. She doesn’t get her wish, but when someone close to her vanishes, Delia must use her gift to solve the mystery, before it’s too late.

Hello Elena, thanks so much for sharing with YA Fresh! Please tell us about your novel The Art of Disappearing.

Elena: The Art of Disappearing tells the story of Delia Dark, a teenager whose plan to be the second most popular girl in school is derailed by a seemingly psychic event. As Delia struggles to understand whether or not she's psychic or just plain crazy, her relationships with her friends and family unravel. So, much of the story is about Delia rebuilding her life and figuring out who she wants to be. And the tension is heightened by a mysterious dream that suggests another terrible something is going to happen.

I was inspired by those real-life moments when you feel like you might have had a psychic experience but, of course, logic assures you otherwise so you tuck the moment away. I wanted to explore what happens when you absolutely can't tuck that moment away, and specifically for a teen who was already faced with the normal-but-overbearing challenges of finding herself. The result is a coming of age story with paranormal themes, mystery and lots of wonderful angst.

Launched this summer with Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants), The Art of Disappearing is currently available as an e-book for Kindle and Nook. It's my debut novel and the entire process has been so much fun.

Sounds terrific! 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.

Elena: I write best in the wee hours of the morning, because I'm one of those morning people you're heard about and because it's literally "found" time; when I'm up at 5:30am, the world (even the internet) is relatively quiet and it's easier for me to get into the zone. I do most of my writing on weekends because I also work full-time. Saturdays typically start out at my desk in my Lower East Side (NY) apartment, but eventually I stick my laptop in a bag and find other places to write - a local cafe, a park, another cafe, the library, another park. When I smash into a creative wall or find myself too easily distracted by my browser, a walk and a change of scenery usually gets me back on track.

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

Elena: Yes, there are projects in the works. Right now I'm focused on another young adult novel, this time with a slightly older protagonist. It's far too early for me to say very much, but I will share that it's delightfully creepy and will appeal to those who connected with the tone of The Art of Disappearing. I can't wait to tell you more.

Thanks again for visiting, Elena! Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Elena: Thank you for inviting me to YA Fresh! I'll close with the writing tip I give myself every time I hit the keyboard: Just.Keep.Writing. That's the fundamental difference between being a writer and not being a writer. Especially when your just starting a new project, it's imperative to get words down on paper (er, well, on screen). You can delete the weak stuff later, and you probably will, but if you're not putting words down then there's nothing to improve upon next time.

Elena Perez is the author of The Art of Disappearing, the eerily exciting debut novel about a teen whose life is turned upside down by a seemingly psychic event. Born and raised in New Jersey, Elena majored in English as an undergrad and was then awarded a graduate fellowship in Creative Writing from Temple University. Elena lives in NYC’s Lower East Side with her boyfriend and dog. She is currently at work on her next novel and welcomes distractions at @elenabooks. Learn more about Elena and find links to purchase The Art of Disappearing at www.elenaperezbooks.com.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I am back!

As many of our readers know, my husband and I slipped away to Europe for several weeks last month.  We got back a few days ago, and after several crazy nights where I kept waking up at 2 am, hungry and alert, I think I’ve settled back into a normal routine.

Thanks to Kelly for manning the YA Fresh fort on her own for so long!

I am sorry to report that I didn't get nearly as much reading time on my vacation as I expected.  But for good reasons--I was often too busy sightseeing, visiting with people, or hunting down WiFi in piazzas and trattatorias to check my e-mails and Facebook page...

I will be back later this week to talk about the YA novels I did read.  In the meantime, here’s a photo from the day my we spent in Venice.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

What's Fresh with Gretchen McNeil's TEN

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, which involve their school's most eligible bachelor, T. J. Fletcher, and look forward to three glorious days of boys, bonding, and fun-filled luxury. But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. Suddenly, people are dying, and with a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the rest of the world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for three days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Hello, Gretchen, welcome to YA Fresh! Please give us one sentence describing your novel TEN:

Gretchen: TEN is an easy pitch: Ten teens trapped on an island with a serial killer.

What inspired you to write this book?

Gretchen: My publisher wanted another horror/suspense novel from me after POSSESS and I wanted to do a throwback to the old Christopher Pike and Agatha Christie novels I loved as a teen. Voila!

What’s been your favorite author moment so far in your career?

Gretchen: Christopher Pike read, loved and blurbed TEN, then called me on the phone the day TEN released. Yeah, it doesn't get any better than that!

Wow, awesome! What are you working on next?

Gretchen: My next book is called 3:59 and comes out Fall 2013. It's sci-fi horror about two girls who are the same girl in different dimensions, who discover that their worlds connect every twelve hours – at 3:59 – for one minute. When they decide to switch places for a day, all hell breaks loose. Literally.

After that I just sold a two book series, also to Balzer + Bray, for 2014 and 2015. GET EVEN and GET DIRTY are books one and two in the Don't Get Mad series about four very different girls who have formed a secret revenge society, getting back at bullies and mean girls who have terrorized their classmates, which all goes well until one of their targets turns up dead and the society is implicated in the death.

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us, Gretchen. Best of luck with your writing career!

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi doppelganger horror is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Bazler + Bray. Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday." Visit her website, www.gretchenmcneil.com.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Giveaway Alert!

Hey YA Freshers, just a heads up I'm giving away two YA anthologies on my blog! Head on over and post a comment to be entered to win PROM DATES TO DIE FOR and SOMETHING WICKED. Contest closes October 12th!!

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Something Wicked Blog Tour + Contests!

Hey YA Freshers! It's October 1st and it's time to get into gear for creepy, wicked short stories for Halloween! I'm excited to share with you a young adult paranormal anthology that is perfect to get you into a spooky mood.

"Mesmerizing and eerie. Tales to keep you reading late into the dark night." - Tara Hudson, author of HEREAFTER and ARISE

Sometimes, they aren't costumes. They’re baaaack.

More nightmares brought to you by the authors of Prom Dates to Die For...

Beware the Midnight Troll on your late-night stroll by Mari Hestekin. Swim at your own risk Under Loch and Cay by Jenny Peterson. A curse of spiders on campus means Arach War by Lena Brown.Through a Glass Darkly one could lose a soul by Heather Dearly. Supernatural Hunters turn to the sea in Mermania by Kelly Parra. Social media goes to the ghouls in Spectral Media by Aaron Smith.Paranormal fun for tween, teens and adults!

Snag your copy in print from Amazon or Buzz Books. Or your ebook copy from Amazon or B & N.

So let me tell you about all the good stuff you can enter to win! Buzz Books is offering up the ultimate SOMETHING WICKED PARTY PACK from 10/1 - 10/7. Here's what you have to do:

Purchase Something Wicked in paperback or ebook on Amazon, the Buzz store or B&N and send us the receipt and you’ll be registered to win a cool party pack that includes a Monster High Laguna Blue doll (two of our SW stories have to do with the water), BOOgo (it’s themed Bingo), pin the nose on the pumpkin, and more. And then you get EXTRA entries by commenting on our author blogs. Find out more about the contest on our official contest page.

Also the authors are rocking the Trick or Treat Blog Tour from 10/1 to 10/6. This is where the authors get to share a Trick or a Treat. Be sure to follow and find out what's in store for readers.

Here’s the schedule:

Monday: Heather Dearly blogging at Book End Babes
Tues: Kelly Parra
Wed: Mari Hestekin
Thurs. Jenny Peterson
Friday: Malena Lott (aka Lena Brown)
Saturday: Aaron Smith

But that's not all... Buzz Books will be continuing with the contests all month. Just keep tabs on the BB website.

Thanks and happy reading!