Amazingly, it’s been seven years since I launched YA Fresh in December 2006. A month later, I asked my awesome critique partner and good friend, Tina Ferraro, to join me as we celebrated the releases of our young adult novels.
Why not start a YA blog to chat about YA books, giveaways, and just have fun with it?
Have Fun, we did!!
Hundreds of interviews and giveaways, and lots of fun chats with readers and bloggers.
Now here we are today with less YA Fresh readers to chat with and few entries for our giveaways.
Tina and I have decided to close YAF’s doors in December 2013.
We can think of YA Fresh as a book blog series that has run its final seventh season and this is our Series Finale!
Thank you for seven years of visits and chats. Thank you for sharing your favorite young adult and middle grade reads with us.
Thank you for taking the time to visit each day, and of course, we will miss you!
You can always find Tina on her Facebook page or Twitter or contact her on her website. You can chat with me on Facebook, Twitter, or contact me through Kellyparra.com.
Keep reading, writing, and having fun, YA Freshers!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Amazingly, it’s been seven years since I launched YA Fresh in December 2006. A month later, I asked my awesome critique partner and good friend, Tina Ferraro, to join me as we celebrated the releases of our young adult novels.
Monday, December 09, 2013
JILL THE OWL is the winner of a hardcover copy of CHASING SHADOWS by Swati Avasthi! Jill, please contact me at email@example.com, and I'll get the book in the mail to you!
Thanks to all who entered!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 12/09/2013
Thursday, December 05, 2013
We're excited to be giving away a hardcover copy of Swati Avasthi's critically acclaimed YA novel, CHASING SHADOWS, which Kirkus Reviews named as one of the year's best teen novels, calling it "haunting, mesmerizing and intense."
Check out the book trailer:
To be entered, simply go to our comments and tell us why you want to read this book. The winner will be chosen randomly, and announced on Monday, December 9th. Good luck!
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Have you seen the Kirkus Reviews list of Best Teen Books of 2013? Here's the link.
You don't have to scroll very far to see the book we're giving away here at YA Fresh this weekend: Swati Avasthi's CHASING SHADOWS. Check back with us on Friday to be entered to win!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Earlier this year we did an interview and giveaway of Sarah Skilton's debut YA release, BRUISED. Under the heading of "too many books, too little time," I am finally getting around to reading it now--and loving it already.
So how about you? Getting in reading time in this holiday season? Share with us in the comments!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I think I started blogging in 2005. It was fresh and new. Anyone could post their views and voices on-line. When Twitter happened, micro-blogging became easier and faster. A quick thought or link in 140 characters or less!
Now, I read industry blogs and articles but I'm not finding that many comments. So it brings me to ask visitors here, is there still blog love?
How do you feel about blogs? Do we still have our YA Freshers checking in at YA Fresh?
We'd like to know!
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 11/23/2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
The winner of WAITING FOR THE QUEEN by Joanna Higgins is...
So Cary, if you'd please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll get the book in the mail to you!
Thanks to those who entered, and keep coming back for more cool giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 11/18/2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
We're excited to be giving away a hardcover copy of WAITING FOR THE QUEEN, notable author Joanna Higgins's first middle grade novel. In addition to a reader's private collection, this book would make a wonderful addition to a middle school classroom library, or gift for a reader from 4th grade and up.
A surprising friendship develops between Eugenie, an escapee from the French Revolution, and Hannah, a Quaker girl, when they unite in the cause against slavery in this adventuresome tale of true nobility set amidst the rugged, eighteenth-century, Pennsylvania wilderness.
Fifteen-year-old Eugenie de La Roque and her family barely escape the French Revolution with their lives. Along with several other noble families, they sail to America, where French Azilium, as the area came to be known, is being carved out of the rugged wilderness of Pennsylvania. Hannah Kimbrell is a young Quaker who has been chosen to help prepare French Azilum for the arrival of the aristocrats. In this wild place away from home and the memories they hold dear, Eugenie and Hannah find more in common than they first realize. With much to learn from each other, the girls unite to help free several slaves from their tyrannical French owner, a dangerous scheme that requires personal sacrifice in exchange for the slaves' freedom.
A story of friendship against all odds, Waiting for the Queen is a loving portrait of the values of a young America, and a reminder that true nobility is more than a royal title.
The giveaway starts NOW, with the winner called on Monday, November 18th. All you have to do to be entered is go to the comments and tell us something you've been known to "wait for..." (For me it always seem to be the "brew done" beep on our coffee machine!) Good luck!
Friday, November 08, 2013
Back in school, I loved perusing the Scholastic Book Club flyers. Each book sounded better than the next, and my biggest challenge was narrowing the list to fit my budget. One month I remember receiving a virtual tower of books, and my astonished teacher asking me if I was really going to read them all. (Yep...and the good ones I'd read again and again...)
Sadly, I lost those books in a storm that flooded our house years later, but thanks to the internet, have found used versions of those original publications, and set about replacing and re-reading my favorites. It's been fun all over again.
So imagine my glee when I heard the following news. Scholastic--whose very name still fills me with childish glee--has released a guide for middle school teachers to help teach creative writing. Called Traits of Writing, it includes a section on creating narrative voice. A suggested lesson plan includes using one of my books, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, as a way to explain and explore writing satire.
I'm honored and I'm thrilled and I'm floored! I even bought a copy of the teaching guide for my personal library, and put a bookmark right there at page 175, which I plan to shove under the noses of all who enter our house. "Look!"
But the one person I'd really like to share this news with is in memory form, a short girl named Tina who is trying to carry a tower of books back to her desk. "Keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming...and believe it or not, one day, you'll get an amazing recognition from that very publisher who helped you start it all."
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 11/08/2013
Monday, November 04, 2013
For seventeen years, Jed Franklin’s life was normal. Then his father was charged with the abuse and murder of four young boys and normal became a nightmare. His mom’s practically a walking zombie, he’s lost most of his friends, and the press camps out on his lawn. The only things that keep him sane are his little sis; his best friend and dream girl, Summer; and the alcohol he stashes in his room. But after Jed wakes up from a total blackout to discover a local kid has gone missing—a kid he was last seen talking to—he’s forced to face his greatest fear: that he could somehow be responsible.
In a life that’s spiraled out of control, Jed must decide if he chooses his own destiny with Summer by his side or if the violent urges that plagued his father are truly in the blood. . .
Hi Sara, so great to chat with you again! What was the main inspiration for In the Blood?
Sara: If ever I read or watched about some horrific crime committed I would always wonder how it affected the perpetrator’s family and what happened to them. The idea for my book just grew from that.
Who would you cast if your book was made into a movie?
Sara: Jed: Paul Wesley (although he’s maybe a bit too old), Summer: Ellen Page
How do you stay focused when writing?
Sara: I don’t! I have the attention span of a gnat, plus I write while working in our business which means constant phone calls and interruptions.
Best of luck, Sara! Let's close with what are you working on for us next?
Sara: My next book is Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up and is about an introverted girl who ends up being a stunt girl for a wild teen movie star.Sara Hantz originally comes from the UK and is one of four children, having three younger brothers. Although she was an avid reader from a very early age, she didn't get the writing bug until much later in life, though English was always one of her stronger subjects. She's an avid sun chaser and now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Australia (via 10 years in New Zealand). Sara lectured for many years before deciding to devote more time to her writing and working in the family hospitality business. She has two grown-up children and when not writing, working, or online with her friends, she spends more time than most people she knows watching TV - in fact if TV watching was an Olympic sport she'd win gold. Sara’s books: In The Blood, The Second Virginity of Suzy Green and Will The Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up (due out May 2014).Visit her website, www.sarahantz.com.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Some of our readers may remember I'm a big fan of Swati Avasathi's debut novel, SPLIT. So I am very excited to share that her second book, CHASING SHADOWS has been released!
In the near future, we're going to host an interview with Swati about CHASING SHADOWS, with a giveaway of a hardcover copy. But here's the deets on the book to whet your whistle!
CHASING SHADOWS is a searing look at the impact of one random act of violence.
Before: Corey, Holly, and Savitri are one unit—fast, strong, inseparable. Together they turn Chicago concrete and asphalt into a freerunner’s jungle gym, ricocheting off walls, scaling buildings, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.
But acting like a superhero doesn’t make you bulletproof...
After: Holly and Savitri are coming unglued. Holly says she's chasing Corey's killer, chasing revenge. Savitri fears Holly's just running wild—and leaving her behind. Friends should stand by each other in times of crissi. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?
In this intense novel, told in two voices, and incorporating comic-style art sections, Swati Avasthi creates a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity. Two girls who will find out just how many ways there are to lose a friend . . . and how many ways to be lost.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Among the topics we covered was our works-in-progress, which for her was the first book in her new series, Wild Cards.
Well, that book released earlier this month. Check it out on Amazon (using the link above) or on her author fan page. If you love it, come back and let us know!
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Best friends Rachel and Kendra are well past ready for things to go back to normal … or as normal as it can get for a demon hunter and a half-mermaid. College is supposed to be about study sessions and sneaking beer, not fighting monsters, right? But when girls on campus start disappearing, Rachel, Kendra and cute fellow demon hunter/annoyance extraordinaire Sid begin investigating. The closer they get to the truth, the more they realize there’s something hiding in the Georgia mountains that is much older and deadlier than your everyday demon. Forget studying for finals, these three will need to fight just to survive.
The first in the digital novella Descendants trilogy following Rachel and Kendra's adventures in college, romance, and kicking monster butt. Peterson first started the storyline in PROM DATES TO DIE FOR and SOMETHING WICKED anthologies and readers begged for more. Look for EAT YOUR HEART OUT in Spring 2014.
Thanks for visiting us on YA Fresh, Jenny! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first publication?
Jenny: I’ve always been a writer—from the NEVER-ENDING STORY rip-off I wrote in fourth grade to the fairly elaborate stories I told my sister to freak her out. (Example: A man-eating sea bass named Murray lived in our lake.) My degree is in journalism, and I really enjoyed working at a paper as my creative outlet. But then! I had this idea for a novel hit me out of the blue one day in my mid-20s. Just bam! And I knew I had to write it. But writing fiction and telling people I was writing fiction are two very different beasts. I wrote that novel in absolute secrecy, and it was seriously years before I admitted to people I was trying to become an author. Obviously, I’m over that now. (That first novel went nowhere and was a bit of a mess, but we have to start somewhere, right?)
Readers 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.
Jenny: So I moved to Denver a couple years ago and decided to try the author/editor thing full time. I split my time between writing fiction and editing for Month9Books, a YA publisher. One thing about working freelance is being crazy organized. I have lists and calendars and precise time-management goals. But I kind of love being so organized. (Yay for Type As!) In a normal day, I juggle editing for half the day with fiction projects the other half: my novella trilogy for Buzz Books, a steampunk novel that’s in its third draft, and a reality-hopping sci-fi serial called THE INBETWEEN being released in installments through JukePop Serials. So I’m not just staring at a wall and holding elaborate conversations with my two cats, I often decamp to local coffee shops. This also has the added bonus of keeping me from reading gossip blogs (my weakness) all day.
Please tell us about CREATURE DISCOMFORTS and what we can expect from your characters.
Jenny: In CREATURE DISCOMFORTS, I continue the story I started in two shorts for Buzz Books. Best friends and college freshman Rachel and Kendra are well past ready for things to go back to normal … or as normal as it can get for a demon hunter and a half-mermaid. But when girls on campus start disappearing, Rachel, Kendra and fellow demon hunter/annoyance extraordinaire Sid begin investigating. The closer they get to the truth, the more they realize there’s something hiding in the Georgia mountains that is much older and deadlier than your everyday demon. Forget studying for finals, these three will need to fight just to survive.
So great! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Jenny: The Descendants trilogy continues in EAT YOUR HEART OUT, slated to release in spring 2014. In it, Rachel, Kendra and Sid are facing a big bad that’s got some creepy talents and gross eating habits. You can read more about the next novella and the Descendants on the series website.
Jenny is a writer and editor based in Denver, CO. Reading and writing YA and new adult is her first love, and she spends an inordinate amount of time dreaming up fantastical worlds for kick-ass heroines. She also splits her time as an assistant editor for a YA publisher. The Descendants Series, her e-novella trilogy, is being released by indie publisher Buzz Books USA. When not writing or editing, she enjoys exploring the mountains and lakes of Colorado, shopping local, dominating at trivia and traveling. She lives in an old Victorian house with her husband and two lazy tabbies named after Harry Potter characters. Learn more about Jenny, her writing and travels at www.jennycoonpeterson.com. Or, you can follow her on Twitter @JenC_P, Facebook, Goodreads, or even Pinterest. Happy reading!
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I've got some travel coming up, which always, always means reading time to me. From long stretches in seat belts to spurts in hotel rooms to passing time in long lines, I'm geared to hang out with new characters and books.
I've got several ready in paperback and e-book form--except for this one, that I couldn't resist reading already:
OUT OF THE EASY is the story of a 17 year-old girl's struggle to leave the troubles of her 1950's New Orleans' French Quarter life behind her. It was recommended to me by a fellow young adult author, and I certainly saw why. Fast-paced with twists, turns and lots of action, it's a great read.
So now I thought I'd turn to our readers. Any Young Adult book recommendations you can make for my travel reading, books you've read or are looking forward to reading?
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 10/10/2013
Thanks to all who entered to win a copy of my latest release, STUPID CUPID!
Our winners are C.R. Evers and Patricia! So if you two would kindly contact me at email@example.com, I'll get those copies to you!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 10/10/2013
Monday, October 07, 2013
Did you know I have a new publication out? Short, sweet only 99 cents?
Called Stupid Cupid, it was released two weeks ago by the Boroughs Publishing Group as part of their Lunchbox Romance line. Here's the official blurb:
Friday, October 04, 2013
Guess what? So you know about my recent novella SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS with teen monster hunters Jaz & Blake? Well, their debut short story, "Darkness Becomes Him" in the fun and spooky anthology PROM DATES TO DIE FOR is free for Kindle! So get it while you can, the promo will run through the weekend!
The anthology includes these great stories:
A Night They'll Never Forget. Five young adult authors cordially invite readers to five proms with a paranormal twist: In Kelly Parra's "Darkness Becomes Him," teen supernatural hunters are hired to save a prom date hungry for souls. Heather Dearly introduces us to a young reaper haunted by a past she doesn't remember in "The Bone Flower." A prom queen seeks justice and revenge in Lena Brown's, "Every Breath You Take." Aaron Smith gives us a loner musician called to save his classmates from an enemy only he can see in "A Kiss at the Threshold." -Jenny Peterson's heroine gets much more than she wished for on her prom night and 18th birthday in "Tonight, You're Mine." Frightful, fun and unforgettable.
I thought I would end the week with some of the fun promo we created for SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS...
I really enjoyed making these, just a small visual on their characters. You can find storygrams for Oz and Marco on my Facebook page.
Buzz Books put together this fun trailer in Jaz's POV as she hunts for a ghoul in a cemetery! Thanks for letting me share! Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Hi YA Freshers!
I'd like to invite you to two special occasions...
"Just the right combination of butt-kicking and romance to keep you on the edge of your seat." —Allison van Diepen, The Vampire Stalker
Supernatural teen hunters and kick-butt couple Jaz and Blake get trouble in their own backyard, the graveyard, when a ghoul is on the loose and looking for fresh meat. When a teen hunter on the verge of death arrives at their doorstep, they realize a much greater evil is upon them.
Jaz is satisfied with their makeshift foster family and fighting monsters, but Blake yearns for adventure and the truth about his biological family. Will Blake leave Jaz to search for something more...and to fend for herself? Can a relationship survive when death is lurking just beyond the gravestones?
SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS is the first novella to follow Jaz and Blake's whirlwind, action-packed romance started in PROM DATES TO DIE FOR and SOMETHING WICKED. With an eye for great dialogue and fight scenes, SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS is a fast-paced, fun read.
1) Today is the official release of my novella SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS!
I just want to share my excitement with you! For the past couple of years, I have been writing short fiction. It gave me a break from writing a full-length novel and it was fun! When I decided to create Jaz and Blake (my monster-fighting teen duo) I didn't worry about pressures or plot lines, just wrote for the joy of it. Jaz and Blake were born in their first short story together titled "Darkness Becomes Him" in the PROM DATES TO DIE FOR anthology. But Jaz and Blake were not ready to be laid to rest in their world of fighting monsters, they wanted to keep sharing their adventures with you. They wanted to fight merpeople in the story, "Mermania" in the SOMETHING WICKED anthology. I thought that might be it for them but alas, they wouldn't stop whispering in my ear. They wanted a longer story. They wanted a novella to battle ghouls and a wicked necromancer. Just to assure you, each story is a standalone. You can read the first chapter on Amazon and a cool extra scene on my website. I would love for you to download a copy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
2) Not only is SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS officially releasing today, but Buzz Books is throwing a fantastic on-line launch party on Facebook and all of you are invited! Just click join and you'll be entered into winning some fun prizes...
SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS is the first full-length novella to follow Jaz and Blake's whirlwind, butt-kicking romance started in PROM DATES TO DIE FOR and SOMETHING WICKED. (The story still stands alone for new readers.) JOIN the launch party for giveaways all day long including copies of PD2D4, SW and Jenny Peterson's upcoming YA fantasy, CREATURE DISCOMFORTS as well as Diana Rodriguez Wallach's NARA GAZING Mythology High story.
BUY SUPERNATURAL HUNTERS ON 10/1 for a chance to win a Kindle on Halloween! ($79 value). Email receipt to buzzbooksusa (at) me (dot) com.
Thank you for letting me share with you! I hope to chat with you on-line at the launch party. Come join to win, win, win!
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for a copy of PANIC by Sharon M. Draper. By use of my random number generator, our winner is:
(: Isa :)
Isa, please send me your contact information at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get the book in the mail to you.
And everyone, keep dropping by YA Fresh to be part of our cool giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 9/24/2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
But what if the stranger is well-dressed and handsome? On his way to meet his wife and daughter? And casting a movie that very night—a movie in need of a star dancer? What then?
Then Diamond might make the wrong decision.
It’s a nightmare come true: Diamond Landers has been kidnapped. She was at the mall with a friend, alone for only a few brief minutes—and now she’s being held captive, forced to endure horrors beyond what she ever could have dreamed, while her family and friends experience their own torments and wait desperately for any bit of news.
This is a riveting exploration of power: how quickly we can lose it—and how we can take it back.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Using humor as the common denominator, a multicultural cast of YA authors steps up to the mic to share stories touching on race.
Listen in as ten YA authors — some familiar, some new — use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Henry Choi Lee discovers that pretending to be a tai chi master or a sought-after wiz at math wins him friends for a while — until it comically backfires. A biracial girl is amused when her dad clears seats for his family on a crowded subway in under a minute flat, simply by sitting quietly in between two uptight white women. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction uses a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poingnant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.
Hello Debbie, thanks for stopping by YA Fresh! Please share with our readers what OPEN MIC is about.
Debbie: OPEN MIC is a collection of 10 humorous short stories about growing up between cultures. Edited by the fabulous MG/YA author Mitali Perkins, Open MIC’s contributors are 10 YA authors who have survived this type of colorful upbringing with their sense of humor intact. My story “Voila” follows what happens when my protagonist Simone’s cultural and social worlds collide in the most awkward of places.
Terrific! What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Debbie: Find your own voice. It’s a chief storytelling tool that makes the experience of reading your work unique and enjoyable. I believe that a well-defied voice speaks to readers about as much as your actual writing does.
Who would you cast if your story was made into a movie?
Debbie: This is fun to consider. Okay, I’d go with China Anne McClain from “A.N.T. Farm” as my protagonist Simone; a slightly older version of “Modern Family”’s Rico Rodriguez to play Louis; Bailee Madison would be a good Waverly—she had that Type A personality down pat as Jennifer Aniston’s daughter in “Go With It”; and finally, as the beloved Ma Tante I’d cast Cicely Tyson.
Is your main character someone you wish you could be, someone a lot like you, or your total opposite?
Debbie: My main character Simone and I share cultural backgrounds (Haitian-American), but she is a lot less trusting and much snarkier than I was at that age. Her healthy skepticism keeps her a step ahead of awkward situations, which she handles a whole lot better than I would.
Thanks, Debbie! Let's close with what was the last book you read that you really loved?
Debbie: I'm late to the party on this one, but I recently picked up a few Lois Lowry books and enjoyed them. It was interesting to read what seems to be one of the literary predecessors of today's dystopian YA.
Debbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for popular magazines. Her YA fiction debut, HALLWAY DIARIES/Kimani Tru was followed by the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy PERFECT SHOT/Simon Pulse. Since then, Debbie’s non-fiction essays have been published in anthologies IT’S ALL LOVE/Broadway Books and DEAR BULLY/HarperTeen. Her short story “Voila!” is featured in OPEN MIC/Candlewick Press, and TURFQUAKE, her first YA e-book will be released late 2013. Visit her website, www.debbierigaud.com/.
Monday, September 16, 2013
The Kindle version of my first Delacorte release, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, is available at Amazon at a reduced price. Permanently!
This book was released in 2007, and picked up some lovely comments. Such as:
"Nicolette is a likable, down-to-earth protagonist who is grappling with a lot of issues, and readers will quickly identify with and understand her. Ferraro does a fine job of setting up an interesting plot, funny dialogue and situations, and an engaging lead character," School Library Journal.
"A particular strength of the book is the romantic interest, Jared (who is very crush-worthy), and the sparkling banter between the characters. Ferraro convinces that these two are perfect for each other, but maintains Nic's obliviousness with good credibility. This was a delightful read, and I highly recommend it," Rosemary Clement Moore, author of The Splendor Falls, Texas Gothic and Prom Dates from Hell.
--and perhaps most famously--
"Very good for a book with a pink cover," a then-12 year old boy (who will remain anonymous because I make it a habit not to embarrass my children).
Anyway, I hope you'll check it out...and come back and let us know what you think!
Friday, September 13, 2013
A teen infiltrates a drug ring to settle a vendetta in this fast-paced novel from the author of Street Pharm and Snitch.
Darren took the fall for Diamond Tony, the notorious head of the city’s drug cartel. Two years later, Darren’s finally out of juvie—and determined to get even.
Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She’s a distraction—and a liability. She’s also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her, he has the promise of a fresh start.
When a deadly turf war breaks out between Diamond Tony and the Bloods, Darren gets caught in the crossfire. The cops think he’s playing both sides, and any mistake could be his last. Darren has to stay on his game if he’s going to protect Jessica—and if he’s going to stay alive.
Hello Allison, it’s great to have you back on YA Fresh! Please tell us about your latest novel, TAKEDOWN.
Allison: Great to be here, Kelly! TAKEDOWN is about a teen who comes out of juvie and wants to settle a score with a drug kingpin. School Library Journal called it the “Y.A. version of The Wire.”
How did the idea for this novel come about?
Allison: I love stories about an underdog who takes on a seemingly impossible mission. In this case, it’s Darren trying to bring down the kingpin who terrorizes his neighbourhood. And to achieve his mission, Darren has to do something taboo—he has to be an informant for the police.
Could you share some interesting characteristics of your main character(s)?
Allison: My main character, Darren, is smart, determined, and tough as nails. But he also loves his little brother and his girlfriend so much, and would do ANYTHING to protect them. As for Diamond Tony, he brings evil badass to another level. He HAS to be taken down, and Darren’s just the one to do it.
What is one of your favorite quotes from TAKEDOWN?
Allison: My favorite quotes are Darren’s rap lyrics, which appear throughout the book. Here’s a short one called The Mission: Before I left juvie/I told the cops I had a plan/To bring down Diamond Tony/Number-one wanted man/They gave me some green, an ID number and a phone/It was better than nothing/I would’ve done it on my own.
What's up next, Allison? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Allison: I’m writing a book called ON THE EDGE about a teen who witnesses a murder, and falls in love with the leader of a mysterious street gang. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to look me up on Facebook for the latest updates.
Allison van Diepen is the author of Street Pharm, Snitch, Raven, The Oracle of Dating series, The Vampire Stalker and Takedown. Her novels have been named ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and New York City Public Library Books for the Teen Age. She holds degrees in History and Education, and teaches at an alternative school in Ottawa, Canada. Visit her website, www.allisonvandiepen.com.
Friday, September 06, 2013
Meet Emmy, Nara, Luke, Echo, and very infamous great grandmother, GiGi.
Eighteen-year-old Emmy is in the family business-trapping vapid narcissistic souls into her silver compact mirror for all eternity. It's what the Rhamnusia family has been doing for thousands of years, all under the direction of Great Grandmother. Only Emmy's latest assignment, Nara, is about to prove more challenging than she ever expected.
Gorgeous and self-absorbed, Nara is unflinchingly cruel to her classmates. Even her boyfriend, Luke, can no longer tolerate her actions--much to Emmy's relief since she finds Luke a little more than intriguing. But when Emmy tricks Nara into gazing into her mystical mirror, what she finds there is not what she's expecting.
Reflecting Emmy is the first short story in the Mirror, Mirror series followed by Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi.
Hi Diana, great to chat with you again! Please tell us What was the main inspiration for your story "Reflecting Emmy"?
Diana: Reflecting Emmy is the first short story in my Mirror, Mirror trilogy, which is based on the myth of Narcissus. I wanted to reimagine a myth that most people, and teens, would know very well. And honestly, within seconds of my brain contemplating Narcissus, I came up with the idea of a paranormal organization that traps Narcissistic souls by judging their reflections in mirrors. I wish I could pinpoint what part of my brain came up with this idea and how it happened so quickly, because there are times when I’m slugging through a revision and would love to manually click that switch.
Who would you cast if your story was made into a movie?
Diana: For Emmy, the paranormal secret agent who traps teen Narcissistic souls for a living, I’d cast Vanessa Hudgens. Emmy’s Greek, a decedent of the goddess Nemesis, and I think Vanessa has that Mediterranean look. For Nara, the shallow, narcissistic girl whom Emmy is targeting, I’d cast Molly Quinn (the daughter from Castle). Nara is a strawberry blond beauty just like the actress.
Please share with us what your writing process is like?
Diana: I’m the working mom of a toddler, so it’s hard to say I even get traditional “writing process” anymore. Ahh, memories. But most weeks, I have a nanny who comes three days and I immediately leave the house and write in my community’s makeshift library/game room. While I’m there, I write nonstop, completely focused. Honestly. That’s the biggest difference now that I’m a mom, when I have time to write, I WRITE. Facebook is for after dinner while I’m watching the So You Think You Can Dance.
Thanks again for sharing, Diana! Good luck with your Mirror, Mirror Trilogy! Are there any contests or upcoming events you’d like to share with us?
Diana: Reflecting Emmy is the first short story in my Mirror, Mirror trilogy. It’s different from your typical book release. Each of my short stories—Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi—will be released individually as ebooks in September, October, and November, respectively. Then they will be compiled together to create the Mirror, Mirror trilogy, which will be released in December. THEN, my stories will be added with two other authors—Jammie Kern and Magda Knight—to create the Mythology High anthology in January 2014. Whew, that’s a lot of releases. So keep an eye out for all of them!
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of Mirror, Mirror, a short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, that includes Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi (Buzz Books 2013). She is also the author of three award-winning YA novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), and in 2013, she will be featured in the anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books). In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Visit her website www.dianarodriguezwallach.com.
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 9/04/2013
Monday, September 02, 2013
Thanks to all who entered our COLOR ME SWOON giveaway. The winner is:
Liviania, please email me at email@example.com, and we'll get that in the mail to you.
A reminder to all our readers that COLOR ME SWOON is releasing this Tuesday, September 3rd. You can learn more about it here: HERE.
And keep checking in here at YA Fresh for more cool YA giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 9/02/2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
To kick off our first giveaway of the school year, we're offering up something special that caught our eye...
Part coloring book, part activity book and with all hot male celebs, it's called COLOR ME SWOON by Mel Elliott, and releasing by Penguin Publishing on September 3rd. (Yes, we have an advanced copy!) Each page has fill-in-the-blank activities like Bradley Cooper anagrams, an imaginary wedding registry with Ryan Reynolds and Jude Law limericks, in addition to color-inside-the-lines (or outside?) sketches to go at with your markers, gel pens and colored pencils.
I can't help thinking how much fun this might be in study hall or waiting for nails to or half-watching TV...or something...
All you have to do to be entered is to tell us in the comments which male celeb you'd like to see in the book! (Doesn't matter if he's in there or not...) Then check back next Monday, September 2nd to find out if YOU are the winner!
Friday, August 23, 2013
Hellllllllloooo, YA Freshers! Did you all have a great summer? I think mine zoomed by, but I did enjoy myself. So read any good books lately? Talking about books, we're kicking it off with our dear author friend, Amanda Ashby! Amanda is chatting about her latest young adult novel, DEMONOSITY!
The Black Rose–a powerful ancient force–has been let loose and has taken up residence in Celeste Gibson, popular girl at Cassidy Carter-Lewis’ high school. Thomas Delacroix is the spirit of a fourteenth-century knight who is devoted to protecting the Black Rose, but he needs a contemporary living being to take on the challenge. That’s where Cassidy comes in.
She’s a quirky high school junior who just wants to dress in her vintage clothes, hang out with her best friend, and take care of her father, who is recovering from surgery. She’s the last person who would ever volunteer for such a task, but no one actually asked her. Now, like it or not, she finds herself training before dawn and battling demons at parties, the mall, and even at school. But hey, no one ever said high school was going to be easy.
So super-duper cool to have you back with us, Amanda! Let's start off by asking what was the main inspiration for DEMONOSITY?
Amanda: I’d accidently stumbled across an article about Rosicrucians—a secret society that was interested in philosophy and alchemy and I was intrigued. I’m also notoriously bad at doing lots of research so I took what I wanted from the society and then started making my own up!
Hey, we writers do like to make stuff up! Could you describe your perfect writing day...
Amanda: My perfect writing day is when I’m right in the middle of the story and the words are flowing (and absolutely no children come to ask for food, a referee or whether they can drink their body weight in Pepsi.)
About how long do you let a story idea marinate before you dive in and start writing it?
Amanda: I find plotting a real struggle because I’m an Aries and I like everything NOW. However, trying to have instant gratification with a new book idea doesn’t always work so what happens is that I get an idea and then when I discover it’s not working, I throw it away in a huff and start on something else. I then repeat this for four or five different projects until I work my way back around to the first idea, by which time I normally have a better way of moving it forward! And yes, if it does sound crazy, I agree wholeheartedly. It’s a ridiculous way to work!
So, Amanda, have you always wanted to be a writer?
Amanda: No, I was a late bloomer and spent most of my youth and early twenties wanting to sit on the couch watching television and reading books. Unfortunately, that didn’t pay very well and one day it suddenly occurred to me that I could still sit on the couch if I was the one writing the stories!
Thanks, Amanda! Good luck with DEMONOSITY!
Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally returned home for some sunshine. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)
She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Fairy Bad Day was selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012 and was a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Australia/NZ region. Visit her website, www.amandaashby.com
Sunday, June 16, 2013
It's summah time! Hey Fresh Friends, we're taking a little down time to play in sandy beaches, read books, take trips, and write! I hope you all have a wonderful summer and tune in to us in the fall!
Best, Kelly & Tina
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 6/16/2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
The winner of this past week's e-book giveaway is
So if DaydreamerN would kindly check the four e-book options in the original post and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll get the chosen book soaring your way!
Thanks to all who entered, and stayed tuned for more cool giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 6/10/2013
Monday, June 03, 2013
Summer's here! (Or for some of us, almost here.) Kelly and I want to help our YA Fresh readers kick it off in style, and what better way than to focus on summer reading?
We've decided to host a Kindle/Nook e-reading giveaway, where one lucky commenter can choose one of our books:
Prom Dates to Die For, paranormal teen anthology including a story by Kelly Parra
Something Wicked: Short Stories, including a story by Kelly Parra
The Starter Boyfriend, Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, Tina Ferraro
To be entered to win one of these e-books, simply give us a title in the comments of another book you're planning to read this summer. Easy-peasy.
Check back a week from today, Monday, June 10th, to learn the winner! Good luck!
Thursday, May 30, 2013
It's that time of year...school is nearly out and many promotions and graduations are taking place!
My son has promoted to high school. Wow! I look forward to his new life adventures and guiding him through the years to graduation. On another note, now after writing about teens and high school days, I'll get a fresher look into the high school experience once again. :)
We just wanted to wish congratulations to many of you who are graduating, promoting, or have a loved one reaching such a wonderful milestone in their lives. This is a time of celebration and fresh beginnings!
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 5/30/2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The winner of this past weekend's giveaway of an Advanced Reader Copy of A REALLY AWESOME MESS is...
Ronni, please contact me at email@example.com, and I'll get the book in the mail to you!
Thanks to all who entered, and keep checking back for more awesome YA giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 5/28/2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
We were lucky to get an Advanced Reader Copy of an already-being-talked-about novel, A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin, which releases this July.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
As a young adult author, I pay a lot of attention to teen names. Recently I perused some popular name websites for girls born between 1994 and 2000 (13 years old to 19). Hands down, these were the most popular:
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 5/07/2013
Friday, May 03, 2013
This past weekend I was asked to be a part of our local Monterey County author forum: "What Inspires You?"
There were eight fantastic authors from different genres, and we were asked to share what inspired us, whether it was to create or write.
Some of the authors were also artists in painting, photography, poetry, and comic illustration. One theme that kept coming up was:
To use what is around you to inspire you.
It was a wonderful event and I'm happy to have been invited. Here are a few photos from the event:
(Last photo from comic writer Bridgett Spicer)
So tell me, what inspires you?
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 5/03/2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
The winner of of an advanced reader copy of SPIES AND PREJUDICE is...
So if you would contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sydney, we'll get that book out to you.
Thanks to all who entered, and everyone, keep checking back for our cool giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 4/29/2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
We are happy to be giving away and Advanced Reader Copy of Talia Vance's SPIES AND PREJUDICE to one of our readers!
Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She's busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she's sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.
So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her "nothing amazing," it's no loss for Berry. She'll forget him in no time. She's more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother's death.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
April 18, 2013 – In conjunction with Operation Teen Book Drop, top young adult authors, editors, teen lit advocates, and readers will leave their books in public places for readers to discover, and members of the public are encouraged to donate YA books to 826NYC.
A nationwide effort of authors, publishers, librarians and readers.
In its sixth year, Operation Teen Book Drop is part of a massive effort by librarians, young adult authors, and avid readers to spur reading on a nationwide scale. The day aims to encourage teens to read for the fun of it.
The effort is coordinated by readergirlz, Figment, Soho Teen, I Heart Daily, and 826NYC.
About Support Teen Literature Day
In its sixth year, Support Teen Literature Day is April 18, 2013, and will be celebrated in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week. Librarians across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their libraries. The celebration raises awareness that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre, as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 4/18/2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
The winner of the Advanced Reader Copy of The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison is...
Diana, if you'd kindly e-mail me at email@example.com, I'll get the book in the mail to you!
Thanks to all who entered, and keep checking back at YA Fresh for lots of cool giveaways!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 4/15/2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
We were lucky to get an Advanced Reader Copy of Mette Ivie Harrison's THE ROSE THRONE.
Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?
Friday, April 05, 2013
Who is excited about The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie! Me, me, me! I love Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter series. The movie hits theaters August 23rd. Check out the trailer below:
Monday, April 01, 2013
The winner of a signed hardcover copy of BRUISED by Sarah Skilton is...
Tammy, if you'll e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll make sure the book gets in the mail to you!
Thanks to all who entered. And everyone, keep dropping by YA Fresh for our awesome interviews and giveaways!
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Please tell us about your novel, BRUISED, and what we can expect from your characters.
Sarah: In screenwriting classes, we memorized the phrase, "Enter the scene late; get out early," meaning, write only the most important moments. But for books, I think it's a good idea to have downtime between scenes of excitement so your reader can catch his or her breath!